Monday, 14 April 2014

Dog Heartworms Symptoms Treatments Causes

The Heartworm is a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes common to pets such as dogs and cats.

The disease can be of two types , depending on the type of parasite: the Dirofilaria immitis causes heartworm, while Dirofilaria repens cause filariasis skin.

In United States, the endemic areas for heartworm are mainly in the North. In recent times, however, are steadily increasing cases of the disease in other geographical areas in the whole of Tuscany, in the lowlands and coastal areas of Sardinia and Sicily and Campania. Recent studies have shown that the tiger mosquito is one of the most common carriers of the disease.

The larvae of Dirofilaria immitis enter the circulatory system of the dog by the bite of the mosquito and develop into a circle until they become adult worms (up to 15 inches long) going to settle in the area around the heart and lungs, causing problems cardiac and respiratory systems . From these locations still new release larvae that spread and create massive infestation which, if not diagnosed and treated in time, can lead to death of the dog.

The larvae of Dirofilaria repens, however, are transmitted in the same way by the mosquito but the adult worms go to localize in subcutaneous

Filariasis can also occur at a distance of time from infection; therefore it is important to perform a control test every year at the vet in order to verify if the animal has been infected. Just a single blood test: the test with the SNAP ® results will be ready in just eight minutes.

More About Dog Heartworms Symptoms Treatments Causes

Cause The common mosquito carrying the larval forms of the worms. During a blood meal on the dog, the parasites are injected into the bloodstream of the animal and grow inside.

Infection silent 

• Itching
• Presence of subcutaneous nodules
• Decreased appetite
• Fatigue, exercise intolerance
• Dry cough, especially after exercise
• Anemia

Progression of the disease if left untreated Pulmonary embolism, heart failure, fluid accumulation in the abdomen and neurological signs. The heartworm disease can be fatal to the animal.

Co-infection A debilitated animal is more subject to infection by other parasites that live in the same environment. That is why it is always important to verify that a person suffering from filariasis is also the bearer of leishmaniasis or tick-borne diseases.

Diagnosis Simple blood test: SNAP ® test 4Dx , result in less than 10 minutes.
Exams study: blood test, chest X-ray, echocardiography.

Treatment The therapy is complex and involves the use of drugs that must be carefully weighed by the Veterinary according to the stage of the disease and the general state of health of the animal. Also, if the worms were long in the heart of the animal, this is likely to remain even after cardiac therapy, because the damage caused to the heart is not always reversible.
prophylaxis of heartworm is the best solution to prevent infestation due to these parasites. The veterinarian may prescribe medication to somministare by mouth or injection compared with a prior determination of the absence of the parasite in dogs that may be carrying.
Prognosis Filariasis is a chronic, degenerative disease that can lead, in severe cases and if not diagnosed promptly, upon the death of the dog. The disease can be kept under control thanks to a continuous prophylaxis.

Vaccination Not available.

Other forms of prevention
Use of pesticides and other topical prescribed by the veterinarian. In endemic areas, keep the animals in the house at night.


  1. I thought only dogs can have this heartworms cat can also suffer from this problem. My friend told me that this parasitic disease are transmitted by mosquitoes. She shared me your blog and she told me that she learned a lot here in your blog. While reading your blog, I learned all the information I need to know and I'm so glad I read your article. Get more information about: Free Pet Care