Heartworms have knocked out more than one million dogs with the disease across the world and still continue to be a threat in all major and minor countries. It is a major health concern for the canine and feline owners as this disease can prove to be life-threatening and may go unnoticed for years. Owing to how quickly this menace is sprawling over the country, it is important to stay vigilant and take precautionary measures well in advance.
As there is a surge in the number of cases of heartworms in pets all over Australia, it is important for parents to remain aware of this disease. April is recognized as The National Heartworm Awareness Month in order to raise awareness regarding this fatal disease.
How are Heartworms Transmitted to Dogs?
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes that are infected with the larvae of Dirofilaria immitis known as microfilariae. These microfilariae are then transmitted to the dogs when the infected mosquito bites and sucks blood from the animal. Once inside the bloodstream, these larval forms move to different organs of the body and especially, to the heart and lungs. They then attach to the walls of these organs and at times coagulate in masses to derive nutrition. This causes blockage of the arteries and valves which hampers the blood flow to the organs leading to issues like respiratory diseases and other health ailments. But the risky part is the disease is unpredictable and can lead to sudden heart attack.
Heartworm Life- Cycle
How is Heartworm Disease Treated in Dogs?
Heartworm disease is a debilitating ailment and requires intensive care. If the dog has contracted the disease already, it would require a series of injections to kill all the microfilariae in the blood. However, heartworm treatment can have serious repercussions on the dog’s health hence it is better to prevent the disease than treating it.
How to Prevent Heartworm Disease in Dogs?
Preventatives are one of the best ways to avoid the disease from happening. They are specially formulated to kill the immature forms of the worm which disrupts their transformation from juvenile to adult heartworms. It is necessary to use these pills in advance because once the worms have transformed into adults, the preventatives become ineffective.
Moreover, heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, therefore, make sure you use mosquito repellents and avoid places where they are found in great numbers to avoid the increased risk of transmission of the disease.
Heartworms are a menace for the entire canine family and make life worse if the dog gets infected with them, therefore, it is up to us to make sure we take proper care of our furry kid. A well-balanced diet and maintenance of optimum weight are equally necessary to ward off diseases and increase immunity. So, make sure he stays in the pink of health and in proper hygiene always.
A piece of advice – Get your dog checked for heartworms at least every 6 months or annually.
Hope this National Heartworm Awareness Month, more and more people will become aware of heartworms and will start using preventatives if they haven’t until now. So, be that parent and spread awareness regarding this fatal disease and save the lives of other pets around you.