Join Date: Sep 2007
Dogs Name: Ori AKA Harold DogDog (Hairy Dog), RIP Caesar, Katana, Kip, Capri
Titles: DogDog Mouthe Extraordinaire; Kip Mr. Behavior; Capri Mis-Behavior
Dogs Age: DogDog 2 yrs?; RIP Kip 11 yrs; Capri 7 yrs; Katana 9 yrs; Caesar 13 yrs
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Heartworms used to kill dogs--WAY back, 50 or more years ago--before they had effective preventatives. They used to treat infected dogs with a compound of arsenic, and if the disease was advanced enough, the dog often died.
These days they have better drugs to treat a dog who has heartworms, but it is a still very long and difficult process. The new medication is easier on the dog than the old ones, but it kills the adult worms in the dog's bloodstream, which then break apart into fragments and end up clogging tiny arteries in the dog's body. The fragments will eventually be resorbed, but until then, the dog must be kept quiet with absolutely no exercise for a matter of months. The dog may also need various medications to deal with the damage that the worms have done--antibiotics, painkillers, diuretics, special diets--and may even need heart failure medication for life if he has been ill enough.
Now they have a preventative in a chewy tablet which is given to the dog, generally once a month, which is very effective. Most dogs will eat it willingly, or at least without complaint. It is much better to prevent heartworm disease than it is to take a risk that he will contract it, become very ill, or maybe even die.
Typically, you do see signs of heartworm infection for a while before the dog becomes seriously ill. He may cough, not want to exercise or get tired easily. As the disease progresses, an infected dog will go into heart failure and retain fluid in his belly and lungs. Sometimes though, a large mass of worms will suddenly block blood flow in the heart and death will rapidly follow.
Last edited by melbrod; 09-14-2019 at 10:25 PM.