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Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is an important dog health care issue, since these nasty parasites can create serious health problems for your dog.

Heartworm parasites are not transmitted directly from one dog to another. Instead, the parasites are transmitted by mosquitoes carrying heartworm larvae, which eventually develop and inhabit the dog’s heart and nearby blood vessels.

Since Heartworms grow to become quite large, they can cause a lot of damage to your dog’s health. Just imagine: male heartworms can become about four to six inches in length, while the females often become about twice that long – and an infected dog can have about 30 heartworms in his little heart at the same time! Also, a grown heartworm can actually live up to seven years in a dog before it eventually dies.
Heartworm parasites exist in the US as well as many other parts of the world and even though your dog does not experience any signs of the illness, he might still be infected (which also means that he is a carrier of the disease and can pass it on to other animals when bitten by a mosquito that in turn bites another animal).

Heartworm can easily be diagnosed with blood tests and/or X-rays, but is undetectable for about six months after entering the dog. In addition, you dog will not show any signs of the illness until the grown worms are in his heart – a fact that makes it immensely important to prevent your dog from becoming infected in the first place.

Skin problems

Because of its white color, the Dogo´s skin is more sensitive than many other dogs´. Many Dogos are prone to skin allergies and/or irritations, so when bathing a Dogo one should always use a very gentle shampoo. Also, Dogos can easily sunburn so if kept outside for a long period of time, they need some shadow!

There are a lot of effective heart worm medications on the market today and most dogs with Heartworm can be successfully treated. However, some complications can occur after the treatment. When the grown worms die, they can for instance easily cause blood clots. In addition, changes in the heart due to the heart worms can also be hard to repair. So once again, prevention is absolutely the best medicine!

Clinical signs of Heartworm may include, but are not limited to:

1. Cough,
2. Exercise intolerance,
3. Difficulty breathing,
4. Abnormal lung and/or heart sounds,
5. Enlargement of the liver,
6. Momentary loss of consciousness (as a result of poor blood flow to the brain)
Other Articles:
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  • Dognapping On the Rise

  • Vaccinating your Dogo
  • Microchipping Your Dog – How does it work?
  • Your Dog and Chocolate Poisoning
  • Insure Your Dog Today!
  • What Not to Feed Your Dog…
  • Fleas, Ticks and Your Dog
  • Heartworm in Dogs
  • The Terror of Antifreeze
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