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Heartworm medication is important
Heartworm infestations can be very serious and even deadly to pets if the condition goes untreated. The majority of puppies and kittens are born with intestinal parasites that are transmitted from their mothers prior to being born. The animals' immune system works to fight off these infections with age. However, once a pup reaches vaccination age, it's important to start treatment and take other precautions to make sure they don't develop these conditions in adulthood.
Heartworms are a type of worm that are transmitted to dogs, cats and other animals by mosquitoes who carry the disease known as microfilaria. If a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, the microfilaria are sent into the animal's bloodstream where they travel through the heart and take up residency in the lungs. Here, the heartworm goes through multiple stages until they become sexually mature. Heartworm tests are unable to fully diagnosis a dog with a heartworm infestation until this time, which can take between 6 and 7 months.
Signs that a dog may have a heartworm infestation include breathing heavily, or having shortness of breath after a short walk or a few minutes of play. In time, the dog might also start to cough, have nosebleeds or start to act lethargic or less playful. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should bring your dog to the vet for a complete physical. Here the vet will take X-rays as well as run blood work to try and figure out the root problem. The vet may also ask you to bring in a sample of your dog's feces to look for worms that have exited its body.
Once the vet makes a diagnosis, he or she will likely start the dog on fluids and will put it on monthly heartworm, flea and tick preventative pet drugs like Pet Armor and Heartgard Plus Chewables. These medications will not only kill the existing heartworms, but will also work to fight off future infestations. Heartworm cases have been found in all 50 states, which makes it even more important to keep your pup on preventative medications.
You'll want to make the dog comfortable while it's recovering by keeping all of its pet products in a quiet room. Store its Heated Bolster Dog Bed, its pet food and a few toys in the space to help it heal faster.