Heartworm Disease In Dogs (Treatment, Prevention & Medications)

Heartworm illness is a disorder that is caused by an infection of the parasitic heartworm, Dirofilaria immitis, which is technically known as Dirofilaria immitis, in the body. This parasite has the potential to cause major medical problems in your dog, and it may even end in death. We need to learn more about this danger if we are to tackle it with seriousness.

The life cycle of the Heartworm:

  • A mosquito feeds on a dog or other animal that is infected with heartworms, sucking up microfilariae (infant heartworms) from the bloodstream.
  • If conditions are ideal, the microfilariae will develop within the mosquito, progressing through 3 “shedding” phases to grow to its larval form.
  • Once the microfilariae have successfully grown into heartworm larvae, they migrate to the mouthparts of the mosquito, waiting for the next time it feeds.
  • When the mosquito feeds, the heartworm larvae pass through into the dog’s body, just under the skin layer. The heartworm larvae remain here for a duration, growing into immature heartworms.
  • The immature heartworms enter the dog’s blood circulatory system and make their way to the dog’s heart.
  • The immature heartworms take up residence in the right ventricle of the dog’s heart and the pulmonary artery. It is here that they thrive, and mature into fully grown heartworms. Heartworm disease may be light or heavy. Heavier infestations have been reported to consist of up to 300 worms!
  • Once the heartworms are fully matured, they mate, producing microfilariae.
  • This microfilaria circulates through the dog’s blood system, eventually becoming lodged in the narrow blood vessels towards the surface of the skin.
  • A mosquito feeds on the dog, sucking up the microfilariae, thus continuing the life cycle.

During this life cycle, there may be minor variations. The generation of new microfilariae is prevented in the dog if only adult worms of one sex are present, and that specific life cycle is brought to a conclusion. It is possible for heartworms to get trapped in other parts of the body, including the eye and leg. Alternatively, larval heartworm may be transferred to a host (either an atypical host or a treated host) that is better equipped to combat an infection, resulting in the life cycle of the heartworm being terminated before it has an opportunity to reach maturity.

Infestations of heartworms in dogs may be deadly. Because of the presence of worms, blood circulation may be impeded and the heart muscle may be unable to contract correctly. In order to prevent heartworm larvae from growing in your dog, it is critical that you treat him on a regular basis with heartworm medicine.

Which Tablets For Heartworms?

We have a wide variety of heartworm pill alternatives available for Dogs, considerably more than we have on offer for Cats, which makes it a bit more difficult to pick which is best for your pet. Sometimes having more options merely makes the decision-making process a bit more difficult. 

So, how can we choose which heartworm medications for Dogs are the most effective ones to use in our practise?

It all boils down to whatever cheap heartworm medicine we are most comfortable purchasing at a discount. A branded name, such as Heartgard Plus, may be preferable, but a generic name may be more appropriate for us. Despite the fact that they function in the same manner as their branded counterparts, generic pills are available for a fraction of the price. Consequently, they are an excellent choice for anybody operating on an extremely strict financial budgeting regimen.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with merely purchasing a generic brand, and they will undoubtedly provide enough protection for our dogs. A chewable medication such as Heartgard chewables may be a better alternative for certain people, though.

It is simply due to the fact that they may be chewed and that they are available in a variety of delicious tastes. This eliminates the need for us to engage in a monthly struggle to ensure that our dogs take their medicine. The fact that Heartgard is available in a variety of delicious meaty tastes means that Dogs see it as a little treat, similar to a biscuit or a chewie.

It eliminates the need to attempt to conceal the pill in a treat and then keep an eye out to make sure they really consumed it. When using Heartgard chewables, they will just bite it down in a second or two and the medicine will be administered; this surely reduces the burden on the patient. However, we must simply choose what makes us feel the most comfortable, and frequently, it is a branded name that provides us with the most peace of mind since we trust the brand’s reputation.

Generic Heartworm Medications

Heartworm infection is one of the numerous illnesses that might have catastrophic consequences for your domestic canine companion. This condition not only causes many problems but may also result in the sudden death of your beloved pets if left untreated or undiscovered for a long period of time. So, don’t spend any more time beginning today without knowing that they are safe from harm.

Heartworm treatments for dogs are readily accessible on the pharmaceutical market nowadays in a variety of formulations. Various brands and price ranges are available, with the majority of them being rather expensive. Pet owners, on the other hand, will no longer have to be concerned since, in the case of heartworm infestation, there are generic medications available that contain the same types and amounts of components as the pricey branded version Heartgard Plus without costing as much as the branded version. Valuheart and Nuheart are two of the most popular heartworm preventatives for dogs.

There are several generic medications available on the market today that aim to prevent your beloved canines against heartworm illness. Valuheart and Nuheart are just two of the many options available. Knowing that the illness may be transmitted from a simple mosquito bite, the medications are laced with Ivermectin, which is effective against larval heartworms that are a month or younger in development.

As a result, there is a significant need for pet owners to be able to provide any of the medications on a consistent basis and without missing a dosage. Both medications are available in a beef-flavored chewable version that seems to be more of a treat for dogs than a prescription medication. It is often administered in conjunction with meals to enhance palatability. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated to be quite safe and effective by a large number of dogs all over the globe.

Regardless of whether you give your dogs Valuheart or Nuheart, always visit your veterinarian first since they are the ones who are most familiar with the proper medicine regimen that your pets at home must follow. However, if you are given the opportunity, be sure to inquire as to whether the aforementioned medications will be beneficial to your dog. Besides saving you money by not having to purchase the pricey versions, these products will also provide your dogs with the level of protection they need against undesirable heartworms!

Canine Heartworm Prevention Medications

Many of you could be possibly unaware of this yet but your dogs at home can actually get a deadly parasitic infection through a mosquito bite. Some mosquitos carry heartworms that are transferred directly into your pet dog’s bloodstream via bites.

The transferred larvae heartworms will start to feed on the nutrient-rich blood of your pets until they come at a fully mature age. Upon reaching maturity, the terror starts because they will invade the heart and the lungs. Such a phenomenon will cause a lot of complications like blood regurgitations, respiratory distress, cardiac damage, cardiac arrest, and eventually death.

So to prevent such from occurring, be sure to take your dog to the vet regularly and have them checked up. Inquire about the available heartworm medications that you may administer to them. Most of the time, vets prescribe Heartgard heartworm prevention.

Heartgard is a chewable tablet-prepared drug that is beef flavored. It is administered just once a month and is advised to be swallowed into smaller bits for fast absorption. The active ingredient of the drug is Ivermectin; a component that is proven to effectively take down all heartworms that cross its path in the bloodstream. However it comes at a price that is quite high so if in case you are on a tight budget, you can ask the vet for an alternative.

A substitute to Heartgard is Proheart-6. It also comes in a chewable, flavored tab form. Like Heartgard, Proheart is to be administered just once a month too. Its active ingredient is far different from Heartgard because it contains Moxidectin instead of Ivermectin. The said active ingredient is highly effective on heartworms that are a month and less old. So, it matters if you strictly adhere to the once every 30 days administration to prevent heartworms from becoming mature.

Whatever drugs you choose for your canine to be protected against heartworms, it pays a lot to consult the veterinarian first. Nothing beats an expert’s knowledge!

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