Dogs are the best companions that man can have. They are loyal, loving, and adorable animals who will always be there for you when you need them most. But just like any other living being, dogs can also get sick from time to time. One of the dogs’ most common health problems is heartworm disease, caused by a parasite that finds its way into your dog’s heart through mosquito bites.
An article published on the Pets WebMD site states that 1 in every 100 dogs is expected to have heartworm disease. The heartworm parasite damages your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. If proper treatment is not given immediately, it could result in critical health issues and even death.
If your dog has undergone such a condition in the past, this article is a must-read for you. It guides you in giving your dog a normal life after having this deadly disease.
Know the Symptoms
Heartworm disease is a complicated disease that can be difficult to diagnose. If you suspect your dog has heartworm disease, take him/her to the vet.
Symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs may include coughing, fainting, vomiting, and weight loss. However, these symptoms are not unique to heartworms. They are also common in other illnesses like cancer or diabetes.
If your dog has any of these symptoms or if you have any concerns about its health, then it’s best to get them checked out by a professional.
American Heartworm Society (AHS) states the following common signs if your dog has heartworm disease:
- Weight loss
- Decrease in appetite
- Fatigue, even after small workouts or play
- Unwilling to exercise
- Mild and continuous cough
AHS also recommends that you perform a follow-up heartworm test on your dog every year to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Switch to a Heartworm Preventive Medication
Your veterinarian will likely recommend a heartworm preventive medication, like Heartgard Plus for dogs. It is a pill you give your dog once a month to prevent him or her from getting heartworms.
The medication works by killing adult worms in your dog’s body and stopping new ones from growing up. It also makes the dead worms easier to see on the x-ray, so your vet can remove them if they’re stuck in your dog’s lungs or other places where they cause an infection.
Heartworm medications are often called preventatives. They are the best way to keep heartworms from developing in your dog’s body. You can get these medications from your veterinarian or online.
Your dog should take a dose of heartworm medication once a month, usually at the same time each month. The best time to give this medication is right after he eats his dinner so it doesn’t interfere with his food intake for the rest of the day.
Visit Your Vet Regularly for Check Up
Regular checkups are important because they help you monitor your dog’s health and ensure that the heartworm treatment is working properly. The vet will also be able to identify any changes in your dog’s behavior, which could indicate an underlying health problem.
The Lab Rescue for Greater Richmond site recommends getting your pet tested annually for heartworms, even when they are on preventative heartworm medicines. Annual testing ensures that the disease is diagnosed earlier so early treatment can be started.
It’s also important to follow a strict feeding schedule so the dog does not become overweight or underweight. You should never skip a meal because it can cause the dog to overeat and become overweight.
Take Your Pet for a Walk Regularly
A report from the Nebraska Humane Society states that a dog should be kept from rigorous exercise for 4-8 weeks after getting treated for mild-moderate heartworm disease. However, you can gradually bring your dog to an active routine as advised by your veterinarian. The best way to proceed is by taking them for short walks.
Short walks and mild activities are vital to your dog’s health. It keeps them fit and healthy, as well as their mental state. Thus, take your pet for a walk regularly to get the necessary exercise.
If you don’t have a yard for your dog to play in, walking him outside is an excellent way to get him out of the house. Dogs love being outside and exploring new places. In addition, it helps develop their social skills by playing with other dogs at the park or meeting new people on walks.
Not only does exercise help keep your pet healthy, but it also helps with weight loss and arthritis treatment.
Introduce Healthy Food in Their Diet
Now that your dog has recovered from a heartworm disease and is back on its feet, you should focus on the food you feed them.
- Avoid processed foods. Processed foods have many preservatives, added sugars, and artificial flavors that are not good for your dog’s health.
- Avoid high-fat and salt content in their diet. Heartworms can also cause hypertension in dogs, so they must avoid high-salt-content food items such as bacon or salted nuts in their diet chart.
- Avoid caffeine products like coffee, tea, etc., as it can cause dehydration among dogs which may be harmful to them in the long run compared to its benefits.
Keep Your Place Free of Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are the carriers of heartworm disease, so keeping your place free of mosquitoes is important.
- Keep your lawn mowed and keep pets out of areas where they can access standing water, such as puddles in the street or ditches. Also, avoid letting them play outside in the rain because it may attract mosquitoes.
- Use repellent on yourself and your pet; they’re available at most pet stores. Repellents can also be sprayed on clothing or applied directly to the skin before going outside.
- If you live in an area known for having many mosquitoes, consider using window screens or other means of keeping them from flying into homes and biting people/pets inside.
Proper Care Ensures That Dogs with Heartworm Disease Can Live Normal & Healthy Lives
Heartworm disease is a serious condition, but it can also be managed. The good news is that most dogs treated for the disease can live normal, healthy lives with proper care and attention.
The treatment itself isn’t a permanent cure. However, it helps your dog live a normal life. It’s important not to let your guard down after administering the medication and stopping at home. Your dog should still be monitored by a veterinarian until they’re completely recovered and healthy.
Heartworm disease can affect your dog even with the most careful preventive measures. Therefore, it is important to know how to care for him if this happens. It will help your pet live a normal life after having a heartworm disease and prevent any complications that may arise from treatment.
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