Canine Heart Worms


An important pet health care issue, canine heart worms have been diagnosed in all 50 states.

Unless your dogs is 7 months of age or younger, she must be tested before preventative measures are taken. Otherwise, severe reactions may develop.

Heart worms in dogs are parasitic worms about six inches long and the diameter of thin spaghetti. Baby worms are microscopic and live in blood vessels throughout the body.

What Causes Heart Worms in Dogs?

Dog heart worms live in the oxygen-rich right ventricle of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. They are transmitted by mosquitos. Long hair offers no protection for your dog.

Symptoms of Heart Worms

Symptoms are not normally seen until the disease is very advanced. At that time, the symptoms resemble congestive heart failure:

  • coughing
  • difficulty breathing
  • dull coat
  • enlarged abdomen
  • fainting spells
  • lack of energy

How are Heart Worms Diagnosed

They are detected through blood tests and/or X-rays. Blood tests may not detect heart worm antigens until the worms are sexually mature, which normally occurs about 6 months after infection. For accurate test results, female worms must be present.

Treating Heart Worms in Dogs

While the condition is curable, it is not without risk. Treatment involves careful medical care and plenty of rest.

To eliminate the worms, a series of injections are given, spaced out over a period of time. Once treatment is finished, the worms will be dead, or dying. While this is the goal, the heart is still full of these dead parasites. Over time, the worms will break into small pieces until they are tiny enough to be eliminated by the body.

The reason rest is so critical at this point is because the worm fragments may still be large enough to plug small arteries in the lungs. The heart pumps faster with vigorous activity, which increases the risk that the particles can lodge into small blood vessels. Five weeks of rest is normally recommended.

Prevention of Canine Heart Worms

Canine Heart Worms

Prevention is your best bet, as once symptoms are seen, it may be too late. Treatment takes a long time. It is very expensive, can be risky for the dog, and success is not guaranteed.

Your vet can prescribe a once-a-month pill. My dog takes Interceptor once a month and loves the liver tasting tablets.


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The information and products recommended by german-shepherd-lore.com are not intended to take the place of expert veterinarian care. Please consult with your vet and ask about using a natural and alternative approach for the healthcare and treatment of your pet. Find a holistic vet.

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