What are the Early Signs of Heartworms in Dogs?

What are the Early Signs of Heartworms in Dogs?

The canine heartworm disease can take up to six months to show any noticeable symptoms. In most cases, the damage has already been done by the time the symptoms appear. Heartworm disease is potentially fatal, and therefore, detecting the disease early on can highly increase the chances of the infected dog’s survival. Knowing the early signs of heartworms saves dogs from the discomfort caused by these gross parasites and pet parents from long, expensive, and time consuming treatments.

5 Early Signs that Your Dog Is Infected with Heartworms

Early detection of heartworms in dogs can help you provide prompt treatment. Here are the symptoms that may indicate a heartworm infestation in dogs:

1.Mild persistent cough

A soft, dry, and persistent cough is one of the most important early signs of a heartworm infection. Heartworms affect a dog’s heart, lungs, and surrounding veins and interfere with the functioning of their respiratory tract, causing coughing.

2. Reluctance to exercise

Dogs with heartworm infections tend to avoid physical activities like walking or exercising due to their overall weakness. Moreover, the dog may also face difficulty breathing after exercise and may even end up fainting if this symptom is neglected.

3. Weight loss and anorexia

Weight loss and anorexia are associated with many health conditions in dogs, including heartworm disease. If you notice any unintentional weight loss or lack of appetite, then your dog may be infected with heartworm disease.

4. Bulging chest

Heartworm infection can cause fluid buildup in response to the infestation, which leads to a bulging or protruding chest appearance. This symptom may also occur as a result of weight loss and anorexia caused by heartworms.

5. Allergic reactions

Your dog may show frequent allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms if they are infected with the heartworm disease. These allergic reactions occur in response to the heartworm or heartworm larvae present in the dog’s body.

Apart from the above symptoms, heartworm infected dogs may also show the following signs, especially in the later stages:

  • Coughing with blood
  • Nosebleeds
  • Blindness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Brain damage
  • Lameness
  • Pneumonia
  • Fainting or collapse

If you suspect any of these symptoms, consult an experienced veterinarian as soon as possible.

Also Read: 7 Questions That You Should Always Ask Your Veterinarian About Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Prevention is the Key…

Every one in two dogs in the U.S. is likely to get heartworms if they are not on prevention treatment. Dog heartworm prevention requires two approaches:

  • Eliminating mosquitoes using effective mosquito prevention
  • Preventing adulting of heartworm microfilaria to prevent heartworm disease

Keeping your dog active on an effective heartworm prevention treatment is crucial to protecting them from these dangerous worms. Moreover, since the detection of this disease is very tricky and the treatment is very scary, heartworm prevention treatments like Heartgard Plus, Simparica Trio, and Nuheart come as a blessing for dogs. Consider using one of these treatments for heartworm prevention under your vet’s consultation to keep your canine friend healthy and happy for years to come!