Heartworm Testing In Dogs: Is it Necessary Before Medication?

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heartworm testing in dogs

Heartworm disease in dogs is known as Dirofilaria immitis and is very prevalent in Australia. It is a fatal disease for pets without proper treatment. These parasites are long hair-like words that live in the right ventricle of the heart and pulmonary artery.  The reason is that heartworm lives inside an infected animal’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. The lifespan of these worms is more than 7 years, and they can severely infect dogs. These cause clotting in the blood vessels and organs, leading to irreversible damage to multiple body systems. In this article, we will see why heartworm testing in dogs is necessary before medication?

How Does Heartworm Spread?

Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes which feed on animals and suck blood from animals. They also suck in microscopic baby worms called microfilariae, which circulate through the tissues of the body. When they bite the following animals, infections pass through tiny larvae into the dog’s bloodstream, where the larvae start growing.

Inside the mosquito, the microfilariae develop, and infected larvae shift into the mouth parts of the mosquito, where they wait for the next target. It takes 7 months to become an adult heartworm and reproduce inside the body.

Why Heartworm Testing In Dogs Are Necessary Before medication?

There are many medications available to prevent this disease. However, always consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your dog. Many pet owners also prefer yearly injections to avoid the risk of this disease, but a heartworm test before medication is a good idea for dogs. Every vet recommends heartworm testing even if you give your dog preventive medicine every month.

The preventative tablets for heartworms are highly effective but do not provide 100 % results. Therefore, the annual testing ensures that the prevention program works. The medication for heartworm is hidden in dog food, but sometimes dogs spit out the vomiting of a heartworm pill. Another important thing you should remember about this disease is that it is progressive, and early detection can give the dog a complete recovery.

A small blood sample can also use for other tests in heartworm testing. It is done by checking for the presence of heartworm proteins. In short, regular heartworm testing ensures that the medication for heartworm disease is working. Well. The treatment can begin immediately and gives your dog a much better chance of completely recovering.

The testing for heartworm disease is designed to know what’s going on inside your dog. The purpose of this testing is to find out before signs develop.  In severe infection, the dog could be lazy, coughing, or having difficulty breathing for the most part. Moreover, dogs with a high number of Heartworm larvae in the blood taking preventative medications can be dangerous and cause allergic-type reactions in some pets.

Heartworm disease in dogs needs special treatment because monthly preventatives do not kill adult heartworm. If a dog gets an infection, they need a different course of medication and further diagnostics and monitoring. A single missed or delayed dose of medicine can put a dog at risk.

In the heartworm season, the pet owner must focus on whole-body wellness. If we take a blood sample, tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease can also be checked.  Combining these tests with heartworm testing in a wellness panel can add value and help identify problems before causing illness.

Where is Heartworm Infection Most Prevalent?

Heartworm disease is prevalent in the United States, Canada, and Australia.  The heartworm infection is more restricted and localized in Canada. The risk of infection is greatest when mosquitoes are actively feeding. The risk is greater in the warmer months, and in the United States, heartworm infection is a year-round risk.

Is the Treatment for Heartworm Disease Available?

There are two types of medication: one to kill adult heartworms and the other to kill microfilariae. There are also some cases where small numbers of adult heartworms remain even after treatment.

According to some vets heartworm treatment could have side effects because dead worms are pumped out of the heart into the lungs. Sometimes, dogs don’t even show signs of illness and are kept very quiet during treatment. In addition, drugs like anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and antihistamines are used to reduce the side effects.

Bottom line

In a nutshell, Annual heartworm testing in dogs is an important thing to keep on eyes on pets health. So many products are available to prevent infection in the market, but veterinarians can suggest which is most suitable for the pet.

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