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Treating Heartworms In Dogs - Bully Sticks Central

Battling the Buzz: Treating Heartworms in Dogs

Hey there, dog lovers! It's Jennifer here, from the sunny climes of Phoenix, where my beloved Mini Schnauzer, Lily, and I share our adventures and misadventures in dog care. Today, I'm tackling a topic that's as serious as it gets in the world of pet health: Treating Heartworms in Dogs.

Understanding Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and sometimes in the heart of dogs (and other animals). These parasites are transmitted through mosquito bites. Living in Arizona, where mosquitoes thrive during monsoon season, Lily and I have had to be particularly vigilant.

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Recognizing the signs of heartworm disease early can be life-saving. Symptoms include:

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

As frightening as it is, knowledge is power. Once diagnosed, treating heartworms is critical to prevent severe complications.

Treating Heartworms: What to Expect

The treatment for heartworms in dogs can be lengthy and complex. Here’s what typically happens:

  1. Confirm the Diagnosis: Your vet will perform a series of tests, including blood tests and X-rays, to confirm heartworm presence and assess the severity.

  2. Stabilization: If your dog is showing symptoms, your vet may need to stabilize their condition before starting specific heartworm treatment.

  3. Administration of Treatment: Treatment usually involves several injections of a drug that kills the heartworms. The most commonly used drug in the U.S. is melarsomine dihydrochloride.

  4. Post-Treatment Care: This part is crucial. Your dog must rest and have limited exercise during this period because as the worms die, they break up and are carried to the lungs, where they can cause blockages if the dog is too active.

Ongoing Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure, especially with heartworm disease:

  • Heartworm Preventatives: Monthly preventatives are available in the form of pills, topicals, or injections.
  • Regular Testing: Annual testing for heartworms is recommended, even if your dog is on regular preventive medication.
  • Control Mosquitoes: Reducing your dog's exposure to mosquitoes can help prevent heartworm disease.

Lily's Story with Heartworm Prevention

Living in a high-risk area, I've always ensured that Lily is on preventive medication year-round. It's a simple step that fits easily into our routine and keeps her protected from this dangerous disease.

Emphasizing Variety in Dog Care

Just like their treat preferences, dogs' health needs can change over time. It's important to stay engaged and adapt to these changes. Regular vet visits and keeping up with preventive measures are essential. Just as we diversify Lily's treats to keep her excited, we also adjust her health regimen as needed to keep her thriving.


Treating heartworms in dogs is a serious affair, but with the right knowledge and resources, it's a manageable one. Always consult with your vet, follow their treatment and prevention plans meticulously, and keep your pups safe from this preventable menace.

Thanks for tuning in, and remember, keeping your dog healthy is the best treat you can offer. Stay vigilant and keep those tails wagging!

This post was last updated at July 20, 2024 19:17

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