What is Heartworm Disease?
How is Heartworm Disease Transmitted?
What are the Symptoms of Heartworm Disease?
Coughing is one of the most common symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs. Dogs infected with heartworms often have a persistent cough that can be dry or moist. The cough may worsen after exercise or when the dog is lying down.
As heartworms grow and multiply, they can cause damage to the lungs and other organs, making it difficult for dogs to breathe. Dogs with heartworm disease may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or rapid breathing.
Lethargy and Fatigue
Dogs infected with heartworms often become lethargic and fatigued. They may seem less interested in playing or going for walks and may sleep more than usual.
Weight Loss and Poor Appetite
Heartworm disease can also cause dogs to lose weight and have a poor appetite. This is because the infection can cause damage to the digestive system, making it difficult for dogs to digest food properly.
In some cases, dogs with heartworm disease may develop a swollen belly. This is because the heartworms can cause fluid to build up in the abdomen, leading to swelling.
Apart from the above symptoms, dogs with heartworm disease may also experience vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. In severe cases, the disease can lead to heart failure, which can be life-threatening.
How to Recognize the Symptoms Early?
Regular checkups with your veterinarian can help detect heartworm disease early. Your vet may perform a blood test to check for heartworms in your dog’s bloodstream.
Watch for Behavioral Changes
As mentioned earlier, dogs with heartworm disease may become lethargic, lose their appetite, and seem less interested in playing or going for walks. Watch out for these behavioral changes and consult your vet if you notice anything unusual.
Look Out for Coughing and Breathing Problems
Coughing and breathing problems are some of the most common symptoms of heartworm disease. If your dog is coughing persistently or seems to be having difficulty breathing, consult your vet immediately.
Monitor Your Dog’s Weight
Heartworm disease can cause weight loss and poor appetite in dogs. Monitor your dog’s weight regularly and consult your vet if you notice any significant changes.
Prevention is always better than cure. Keep your dog on a regular heartworm prevention program and avoid areas with high mosquito populations.