Heartworm Infestation In Dogs

Heartworm Infestation or Dirofilariasis in Dogs

Dogs suffering from heartworm infestation are affected by the Dirofilaria immitis parasites. It is a nematode, commonly referred to as roundworm or heartworm. The seriousness of the infection massively depends on the fact that how many worms are there in the body. Also the length, and how the host, in this case the dogs accepts the parasites.

In places where the parasite is limited, dogs without proper heartworm preventives have the chances of suffering from heartworm infestation to a greater extent. This parasite is very much prevalent in sub geographical climates, such as subtropical and tropical climates, especially in gulf coats and Atlantic regions, and in Mississippi and Ohio river basins. The presence of these parasites is although is not restricted to these places, and is found worldwide. All the states of the US have the presence of these organisms.

The good news is, this condition is preventable by the administration of a preventive medication by a renowned vet. Dogs who contract heartworm diseases have a good prognosis in mild cases, with timely and appropriate treatment. Canines with serious cases can suffer from severe short or long-term complications.

Signs and types of the Conditions

Some general signs and symptoms include:

  • Minor coughing session
  • Intolerance to exercise
  • Poor physical condition

The fact is, signs and symptoms vary according to the severity of the condition, and from dog to dog.

Heartworm infestation is divided into classes.

Dogs with class 1 heartworm disease are in most of the cases do not dispose of any symptom in general, or may exhibit minor signs which includes frequent coughs.

Canines with class 2 variant of the condition include signs such as a frequent cough and intolerance to medium level of exercises.

Dogs with class 3 variant of the condition may exhibit loss of body condition, more massively exercise intolerance, the problem of breathing, and an appearance of pot-belly, with relation to the accumulation of fluids in the abdomen as a result of heart failure of the heart failure.

Canines with class 4 variant of the condition called as caval syndrome as a result of the presence of many worms that they blow the natural flow of blood into the heart.


Heartworm bacteria can spread through the bites of the mosquitos, which carry the infective heartworm larvae. These organisms then travel to the heart of the organism and create a chemical process that takes mostly six months. There, in the heart, the larvae mature and grow into an adult of twelve inches long. These adult worms then reproduce and create microfilariae.


The vet will do an easy blood test to screen for heartworms. The government organizes routine tests to screen for the organisms in a  dog. And to monitor a healthy dog. A positive test will need the company of a retest to go definite about the condition in a dog.

Some additional tests are blood chemistry tests, complete blood count tests, an analysis of the urine, a chest Xray, etc.


Treatments include anything that can stabilize the condition. Then the vet will give medicines to stop the spreading of the organisms. Hospitalization is needed in many cases, just to keep an eye on the dog’s recovery. Vets typically prescribe drugs like prednisone and doxycycline for the affected dogs. If the dog is suffering from caval syndrome, surgery may be an option.


Different organisations provides preventive medications for the dogs. There are some very common preventives provided to the affected dog. Dogs who have completed the medications also need preventive medications. Heartworm medications can be less effective, in some cases. Routine screening for heartworms is high recommendation.

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