We know that your dog is one of the creatures you hold close to your heart. As such, it’s important for you to ensure it’s in good health and on track to lead a long, happy life.
Although you may have heard of heartworms and know that they’re detrimental to the heart health of your beloved four-legged friend, many dog owners aren’t aware of the symptoms of heartworm. Here’s the lowdown of what heartworms are and how to know if your dog may have heartworms based on its symptoms.
What are heartworms?
Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that spread through mosquitoes and live and grow in your pet’s lungs and heart. These parasites often go unnoticed for months before they cause heart failure, leading to the death of your pet. To avoid letting these nasty parasites steal your canine friend from you before it’s time, be on the lookout for the symptoms of heartworms before it’s too late. If you get your dog to a vet clinic like Caudle early enough, heartworms can be diagnosed and treated to prevent your dear dog’s premature death.
Signs your dog may be infected:
Cough. Heartworms in your dog’s lungs can inhibit its breathing patterns, so be on the lookout for any noticeable coughs your dog may develop throughout its daily activities or after exercise. Even if the cough doesn’t stem from heartworms, it’s always a good idea to have your pet’s cough examined and diagnosed by a veterinarian.
Lethargy. Sudden declines in typical movement and longer bouts of inactivity aren’t always just signs that your pet is aging—sometimes lethargy is induced by the presence of this parasite. With parasites in their hearts, it can be hard for dogs to complete even easy activities. Any unusual inactivity should be observed by a professional.
Decreased appetite. If your dog starts eating less than usual and starts losing weight, it may be a sign that heartworms have found their way into its heart and lungs. As heartworms make their homes inside your pet, it often loses its appetite. Monitor your dog’s eating habits and take it to the vet if its normal eating habits fall off track.
In addition to these three heartworm symptoms, bloody urine, erratic heartbeats, heart failure, and collapsing or fainting are also signs that your dog may be experiencing heartworms. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always a good idea to take your dog to the vet if it’s exhibiting any abnormal behavior that you find worrisome. Even if the symptoms aren’t signs of anything fatal, being aware of your pet’s health and taking good care of it means that you can enjoy its company for years to come!
If your dog isn’t acting like its normal self and you’re afraid it might have heartworms or some other condition, don’t hesitate to contact Caudle Vet Clinic to have our professionals examine your pet and nurse it back to health if need be. Call (615) 227-6230 to schedule a check-up today!