Symptoms of Heartworms in Dogs
Identifying early symptoms of heartworms is key to getting proper
treatment started before the infestation gets too severe. An older dogs
weakened immune system makes it harder for them to fight off infections and
that also goes for dealing with heartworms. Early detect will be a great
benefit for your old dogs recovery.
Early Hearworm Symptoms:
- Easily tires - have you noticed any reduction in the energy level of
your dog - does he get fatigued quicker?
- Not interested in exercise - when a dog is not excited for a walk or
a run around the yard there could be an underlining reason.
- Soft deep cough - Don't over look the slightest cough - take it
seriously and have your dog checked.
Severe Symptoms of Heartworms:
- Weight loss - dogs are not usually one for missing meals so a
reduction in his appetite can be a sign for you to have him checked out.
- Breathing difficulty - after slight exercise if you notice your dog
is breathing rapidly sounding like he's gasping for air.
- Harder Cough - a deeper cough that doesn't seem to be getting better
or going away
Advanced Symtoms of Heartworms:
- Severe weight loss - ribs become visible - seem to be sticking out
- Coughing up blood
- Jaundice - a yellowing of tissue - visible in the whites of the eyes
and also in there gums. This will indicate a problem with the liver.
Knowing the symtoms of heartworms can help you make an educated decision
on how best to care for your old dog. Heartworm prevention products are the
best way to control heartworms, will usually require a prescription and can
Before heartworms can be treated your dog needs to be evaluated for
good heart, liver, and kidney function to ensure they can survive the
treatment. The eradication process can be taxing on organ function.
Heartworm Treatment Step 1 - Young Worms:
- Eliminate young worms. This keeps treatment ahead of the
development of the heartworms.
- Attaching the immature worms first reduces the number of adult
worms that will have be taken care of in step2
- Less dying adult worms at one time reduces the risk to your dog.
Using a monthly heartworm ivermectin-preventive product such as can kill
the immature worms. The American Heartworm Society recommends using a
preventive 1-3 months prior to treating the adult worms. This waiting
time is a recommended guideline and you should make your call based on
your dog's condition. After all the adult worms are the cause of the
Heartworm Treatment Step 2 - Adult Worms:
- Can be done in two treatments but some recommend 3 so there is a
more gradual killing of the adult worms.
- Injections are given into the lower back muscles - Comfort your dog
afterwards as this is a painful injection and could make your dog sore.
- A reaction of some sort occurs in roughly 30% of the dogs treated
- When following the two dose treatment a second shot will be given
the next day on the other side of the back.
- When following the three dose treatment after the first treatment
you will wait a month before having the two doses in a 24 hour period.
After treatment is completed you will need to keep your dog calm for
about a month. It is important to let heart rest during recovery.