As a dog owner, you should be aware of potential health issues your dog might have. One of the most important to keep in mind is Heartworm Disease, a potentially fatal disease that can cause incredibly serious health complications.
Although most cases of Heartworm Disease in the United States come from typically warmer, south-eastern states, dog owners throughout the country should be aware of the potential risks and warning signs of heartworms. Prevention and early detection are key for a life-threatening disease like this one.
Why Knowing The Signs Of Heartworms Matter
If left untreated, your furry friends could be stuck with horrifying symptoms including foot-long worms in their hearts, lungs, and blood vessels. This can lead to heart failure, lung disease, and severe damage to other organs.
Heartworms are silent killers. The disease progresses so slowly that normally, symptoms are not visible for a few months. Monthly treatment should be sought if there is even a slight chance that your dog has contracted heartworms.
If you’re interested in learning more about the early signs of Heartworm Disease, follow along.
Signs Of Heartworms
1. A Dry Cough
This could be the very first detectable sign of the heartworms. Although your puppy might seem just fine in the first few stages of the disease, it’s important to look out for soft, dry coughs.
Parasites are slowly making their way through their lungs. A dry cough becomes more apparent after exercise and can also be followed by fainting. If this describes your dog’s behavior, it’s important to have it tested for heartworms.
If your furry friend is not as playful and energetic as usual, you should consider taking them to the vet. Heartworm infections make it incredibly difficult for dogs to perform even simple tasks.
They might be reluctant to exercise and their breathing might be shallow. If you find that your dog is unusually fatigued and is coughing more often, take it as a call to action.
3. Weight Loss And Bulging Chest
One of the most telling signs of heartworms is weight loss or anorexia. Eating can become a difficult chore for a fatigued dog, so rapid weight loss is inevitable with the disease.
The sudden drop in weight may cause the appearance of a bulging chest. The effect is exacerbated by a fluid buildup in the chest due to the parasitic infection.
4. Difficulty Breathing
Once the heartworms begin invading the lungs and surrounding veins, your dog might have severe issues breathing. Fluid buildup due to the parasites in the blood vessels and lungs can make it hard to oxygenate the blood.
If you notice focused breathing or shallow breathing, go to a veterinary immediately.
Hopefully, you’ve noticed the signs of heartworms before reaching this stage of the disease. Once a large number of heartworms have invaded the heart, blood will stop flowing.
Your puppy is likely to collapse at this stage. Shock and red blood cell death are likely to follow.
There are numerous treatment options for Heartworm Disease. Now that you know the risks associated with leaving the disease untreated, it’s important to be aware of the signs of heartworms at all times.
If your furry friend is in need of some grooming or you need a pet boarding service for your next trip, don’t hesitate to make a reservation! We’d be happy to take care of your pets.