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Heartworm is a potentially fatal and severe disease that is caused by parasitic worms called Dirofilaria immitis which grow in the heart and veins surrounding the lungs of various types of mammals. Heartworms belong to the family of roundworm and can infect dogs of any breed or age. It can, however, be treated with a medicine called Heartgard Plus. Read on to find out more about these fatal parasites and where you can enjoy Heartgard Plus chewables best price!
The life cycle of heartworms
Heartworms are spread in mammals through a mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites a dog that has already been infected, it ingests its blood which is infected with immature heartworms. These baby heartworms, also called microfilaria, grow into larvae in the next 10 to 14 days while they are in the mosquito. When the mosquito bites another animal, such as a dog or a cat, it leaves this larva on the mammal's skin. This larvae then travel through the tissues, penetrates under the skin, and enters the blood vessels until it reaches the arteries of the lungs. It takes the infective larvae up to 6 months to develop into mature heartworms and start procreating. Adult heartworms can survive up to 7 years in a dog. Unfortunately, these adult heartworms like to live in the pulmonary vessels of the heart which can cause excessive damage to the lungs and heart of the dog.
Although more than 30 animal species like ferrets, foxes, domestic cats, wolves, sea lions, and coyotes can become a victim of heartworm disease, dogs are considered the perfect hosts for these destructive worms. As these worms turn into adults and reproduce, they release microfilaria into the bloodstream which is again picked up by mosquitoes and spread to other innocent hosts.
Dogs are the perfect host for heartworm as they turn into adults, mate, and reproduce while living inside the dog. If this infection is not treated in its early stage, the number of adult heartworms inside a dog can rise up to several hundred, causing extensive damage to the dog’s arteries, lungs, and heart. These parasites can affect the quality of life and the dog’s health, even if they have been eliminated. That is why, heartworm prevention is the best course of action in dogs and treatment, and must be carried out as early as possible.
How does heartworm spread?
Dogs do not show signs of heartworm infection until after being infected for some years. This disease is most common in dogs that are older than two years old and younger than eight years. Puppies that are younger than one year old are usually not susceptible to this disease as it takes more than seven years for the microfilariae to mature into adult heartworms. By the time a dog starts to show clinical signs of this disease, it would have already spread significantly.
Heartworm clogs not only the heart but other major blood vessels that lead out of the heart as well. These parasites interfere with the normal functioning of the heart by disrupting the natural action of the valves. Once the main blood vessels are clogged, blood supply to vital organs such as liver, lungs, and kidneys is reduced, leading to major damage to these organs.
Symptoms of heartworms
Heartworms are found in pets all over the globe. However, the severity and extent of the infection depend on a dog’s activity level, length of infection, and the number of mature worms. In the early stages of the heartworm infection, the dogs don’t usually display any symptoms, but as the parasites increase and the infection progresses, your dog will show the following symptoms:
- Temporary loss of consciousness
- A cough
- Hepatomegaly or enlargement of the liver
- Breathing difficulty
- Abnormal lung sounds
- Exercise intolerance
- Fluid buildup in the abdominal cavity
How often should a pet be tested for heartworms?
Annual tests should be carried out on dogs for heartworm infection. This can be easily done on your routine visit to the vet. You should follow the following guidelines for timing and testing:
Puppies that are less than 7 months old can be given heartworm prevention medicine without being tested first because if a dog is infected, it is going to take at least six months for the test to be positive. However, to ensure that your dog is heartworm-free, get it tested six months after your first visit, and again after six months. After that, you can have these tests annually.
Dogs that are older than seven months but are not on any preventive medication should be tested before starting heartworm prevention. They also should be tested after every six months in the first year and then annually after that.
Consult your veterinarian and resume the monthly preventive medication immediately. Retest after six months as the infection can be diagnosed after the worms have been inside the dog for 6 months.
Heartworm medications are highly effective although, there is a chance of your dog getting infected if you miss a dose, are late on your monthly dose, or the medicine is discarded through vomit or spit. That is why it is vital to get your dog tested annually even though he has been on heartworm prevention all year round.
Heartworm Heartgard Plus chewables for dogs
Heartworm Heartgard Plus dogs is one of the most trusted heartworm prevention medication because it provides complete protection to your dog against roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms. This medicine, although deadly for these parasites, is completely safe for puppies six weeks of age, nursing or pregnant females, collies, stud dogs, and dogs that have collie genetics. One dose is effective in keeping your beloved pet worm-free for a month. The heartworm Heartgard Plus dogs is available in beef flavor which turns this medicine into a tasty treat. It shouldn't be swallowed as a whole but should be chewed. You can also break the chewable into pieces before feeding it to your dog so that he does not swallow it whole.
Side effects of heartworm Heartgard Plus chewables for dogs
It is better to get your dogs tested for heartworm infection before initiating a preventive treatment. This medicine is usually well-tolerated by dogs; however, it may cause disorientation, tremors, blindness, loss of appetite, dilated pupils, and weight loss if the recommended dosage is exceeded. In rare cases, it can also result in your pet’s death.
Where to buy Heartgard plus chewables
To enjoy Heartgard Plus Chewables best price, head over to Total Pet Supply, and get the medicine at the most reasonable price!
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