Understanding the Symptoms of Heartworm!

By: SA Perillo

Heartworm is a canine disease that infects most animals in the world, although with great number in places where there is warm climate. The southern part of the US for instance is the most infected area. However, it can also be found in Canada, Alaska, along Gulf Coast and Mississippi River or anywhere where mosquitoes proliferate in great number.

Mosquitoes are said to be the primary hosts of heartworm disease. They are the ones who transmit the eggs of the parasitic roundworms from the infected blood of an animal, usually, dogs. These eggs called microfilariae have known to be ingested in the mosquitoes’ body where they grown into a larvae and stay in the mouth of the mosquitoes. A single mosquito bite that has larvae could transmit the infection to the skin and muscle tissue of the uninfected animal making it a new victim since these larvae will now have the opportunity to travel to the right side of the heart of its new host and stay there until they develop into full-grown adult worms living and slowly damaging the host’s heart and lungs. The damage that will be made is irreversible, therefore, fatal to the host’s life since it will infect and destruct the vital organs as well such as the liver and kidneys as well as it leads destruction to the red blood cells.

Heartworm could cause pulmonary hypertension due to the inflammation of the pulmonary artery because of the irritating brought about by the worms that live in these areas. The irritation may roughen and thicken the internal walls of the pulmonary artery affecting the other blood vessels because of blood clotting that may clogged the opening to the lungs. When the blood vessels are clogged, back pressure will eventually transpire. Back pressure will eventually distress the lungs as the normal blood circulation will be hampered in effect, damaging other organ’s normal functions. Vena cava syndrome may likewise occur since the heart will suffer from the living organisms making a home in the vena cava. The pressure and the increase in blood flow will likewise distress the right side of the heart. Furthermore, changes in the lungs will likewise be made, as well as an enlarged right side of the heart may be seen.

Symptoms of heartworm infection when early detected could be a good help in the treatment process of the heartworm disease. Amongst its symptoms and signs that you have to watch out for especially in your dog is coughing, and coughing with blood. The same is true when the dog feels and looks exhausted after a short play. The intolerance to tiring activities is a very good sign that you can watch out for. If the dog has been active ever since and suddenly it decreases its level of energy, suspect that it carries heartworm disease. Visit your dog’s veterinarian to treat the dog immediately before the number of adult worms grow in serious number for once this happens, the dog may not be able to survive the heartworm disease and even the treatment procedure.

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