Posted on Oct.09, 2011, under Tutorial
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal but preventable, caused by worm parasite, Dirofilaria immitis. The organism is transmitted by mosquitoes which carry the heartworm larvae from an infected animal. At least there are 70 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease. The severity of heartworm infection and the signs depend on the number of worms present, the immune response of the infected dog, the duration of infection, and the activity level of the animal.
Common signs of heartworm infection include coughing, exercise intolerance, failure to grow, labored breathing, fainting, nose bleeding, and accumulation of fluid in abdominal cavity. The antigen detection test is the preferred method for diagnosis of infection.
The only drug currently available to treat infection with adult heartworms is melarsomine dihydrochloride, an arsenical compound.
Heartworm infection is preventable, several medications that are both safe and effective at preventing infection are available from your veterinarian. Preventive treatment for dog is beginning at 6 to 8 weeks of age. The most important thing that pet owners can do to protect their companions from heartworm infection is to be sure their pet receives the prescribed dose of medication at the correct time.
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