Recognize the Symptoms of Heartworms in Dogs and Save Your Pet's Life

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If you have seen pictures of heartworms, you know that these creatures don't deserve to live, especially inside your dog. Not only are they disgusting, they also pose a serious threat to the life of your pet. This is enough reason to keep your pet protected from them. What makes heartworms formidable is the fact that their presence is not easily detected. Your pet may actually go for months or even years without showing any indication of an infestation. Heartworm disease kills because it is so often overlooked and mistaken for another illness. While a prevalent disease, it is sad to know that not many owners are aware of the symptoms of heartworms in dogs. Below is a rundown of the various stages of heartworm disease and their accompanying symptoms: Acute Heartworm Disease
As mentioned, heartworms don't make their presence known right away. A dog that is initially infested with infective heartworms or third-stage larvae (L3) will not show symptoms until after about 7 months. This is because it takes 6 to 7 months for heartworms to develop from babies to adults. For this reason, no clinical symptoms will be apparent during this stage.
Mild Heartworm Disease
As soon as the larvae find their way to your dog's heart, symptoms begin to show. During this stage, your dog may develop a cough as a result of heartworm larvae irritating the heart and the walls of the blood vessels.
Moderate Heartworm Disease
Inside your pet's heart, the larvae continue to grow. Consequently, the condition of your dog worsens. At this stage, your dog may develop a cough and you might start to hear abnormal lung sounds. Likewise, your dog may tire easily and have difficulty doing physical activities.
Severe Heartworm Disease
As the heartworms that clog your dog's heart mature, the risks your dog will be exposed to also grow. Your dog may begin to experience difficulty in breathing or dyspnea. Other symptoms include enlargement of the liver, fluid build-up in the abdomen and unconsciousness caused by inadequate blood supply to the brain.
article1_bq.jpgHeartworm infestation should not be taken lightly. It is important to recognize the symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs so you will know how to deal with them. Arming yourself with knowledge of this disease will put you in a better position to combat it. The good news is that you don't have to fight heartworms alone. These days, with products like Heartgard and Revolution, heartworms can now be prevented. Surely, you don't want your pet to suffer from these parasites, do you?