Dog Heart Worms
There was a time when the disease called a heartworm, caused year, was recognized only in a small area of the southeastern United States but it soon spread to the Ohio River Valley and more recently has been found in most, if not all, states. Part of the problem is no doubt our increased mobility, with pets accompanying us on vacations, and with dogs being taken to field trials and dog shows all over the country.
Japan and the Philippine Islands hold the dubious distinction of having the highest incidence of heartworm in the world. Since many species of mosquitoes transmit the disease, and since it is virtually impossible to keep mosquitoes from feeding on dogs, it is a small wonder the disease is so prevalent.
The female worms are fourteen inches long and the males are ten inches long, and they live in the blood on the right side of the heart. When there are fifty or more of these worms in the heart there is insufficient room for blood and the heart enlarges. The worms reproduce at a rate of one female producing ten thousand young, cleric, every twenty-four hours. These microfilms cause a lot of damage in the miles of the capillaries of the body, and it is from the capillaries that the mosquito draws infected blood to transmit to another dog when it needs another blood meal.
The test for hecatombs consists of your veterinarian drawing blood and concentrating the microfilm, or wigglers, and identifying them under the microscope. Unfortunately, a certain percentage of dogs have detected else adults without any circulating wigglers. Other tests and X-rays are necessary to make a diagnosis in these cases.
Prevention: Concerned pet owners have blood tests done on their dogs yearly and give preventive medication, diethyl carbonation, to all the canine pets in the household or kennel. Since it takes five to six months after exposure to an infected mosquito for veterinarians to diagnose heartworms in dogs, they should be tested every spring or anytime in warm climates and given preventive medication without fail. The same drug is taken in the tropics by humans to prevent human filarial diseases. It must is given daily and comes as a powder, tablet, or liquid.
Dog Heart Worm Treatment: Treatment consists of first testing the dog to be sure all its organs are functioning within normal limits and if so, an arsenical drug is administered intravenously four times over two days. Optimally the dog should be monitored twenty-four hours a day by someone who can recognize a problem if it develops. If a problem develops, the treatment is discontinued and intravenous fluids, antibiotics, steroids, and other measures as necessary are taken.
The surgical procedure for removing the worms is considered by most to be less successful than the medicinal approach.
It is thought that adults live for about four years and the microfilm no more than two and perhaps only one. It has been suggested that the adults stop reproducing after two or three years.
When we consider that a small blood clot will kill a person, it seems incomprehensible that fifty dead adult heartworms in the bloodstream may not kill a dog.
Our love for our dogs and their unquestioning loyalty and devotion touts are so much a part of our lives that we all have moments when we think with dread of the time when old age, accident, or disease may take them from us. The age we cannot control; an accident may strike the pet of the most careful owner; but you can do something about diseases. With knowledge of prevention and cure, you can both reduce the incidence of disease and limit the injury it does.
If you know the normal behavior of your dog and how it should and does act when it is in good health you will be able to judge more easily when it is suffering from one of the many maladies it may develop. To care for your pet intelligently you must know something about the most frequent ailments their specific symptoms, cause, complications, and treatment. There are two types of general classifications of diseases to which dogs are most subject: those of virus origin and those resulting from bacterial infection.
See more: Dog Heat Cycle
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