Heartworms are an illness that will eventually cause the death of a person’s dog. Usually pet owners know that heart worms are a serious illness for their pet. Because the eventual outcome of heartworms is death it is important to recognize heartworm symptoms early.
I had one pet with heartworms. I had adopted her up as a stray. At one point she was in a lot of pain. Eventually under the close supervision of a veterinarian, we were able to cure her. It was a long, expensive process. It was also very labor intensive for me.
Heartworms are mature adult heartworm larvae which have taken up residence in your pet’s heart and other organs. The heartworm irritates the heart and blood vessel walls. This irritation thickens the blood and blocks the blood flow. The heartworms can become lodged in the blood vessels of the liver and cause liver damage.
The first thing to watch for is a mild cough. My dog had a cough. In the beginning, like most dog owners, I dismissed it as a small respiratory infection. Usually a mild respiratory infection will take care of itself. Just like a cold in a human.
Luckily because I know that it can be the first sign of such a terrible disease, I mentioned it early on when I brought the dog in for its first shot. Picking up a stray, I did not know what, if any, prevention the dog had been through.
Most dogs are energetic and playful. If they are fatigued this is a warning sign. If doing typical dog activities like running in the yard or up the stairs tires you pet, this is another symptom of heart disease. Any of these things may be a problem and should be watched. Another symptom is shortness of breath in your pet. If your dog breathes hard or gasps for air you may need the services of a veterinarian.
My dog is always hungry. If you have a dog you probably have noticed that they are constantly hungry or at the very least willing to eat at any time. If your dog skips a meal that might not be a problem, dogs get upset stomachs too. But if missing meals continues it is a serious symptom. I noticed this as another symptom with my dog and was able to share this with the veterinarian.
Weight loss, yellow or jaundiced skin, and a severe cough are signs that a major problem may exist. I recommend if your pet has any of these you bring them to the veterinarian now. If your dog has collapsed at any point this is an even more serious symptom.
The easy solution to this is to be a responsible dog owner. Owning a dog means certain responsibilities, like giving preventative heartworm medication regularly. It also means if you acquire a new pet you bring them to the veterinarian early on. If you already have a dog you bring then to the vet at least once a year.