Heartworms Symptoms In Dogs,Test,Prevention And Meds

heartworm symptoms in dogs

Heartworms In Dogs Treatment And Symptoms

Listing all the reasons we love our pet dogs will probably result in a very long list. But if we’re responsible dog owners, we also have to be aware that there’s also a very long list of potential problems and diseases that can hurt our pet dogs. And heartworm is one of them.

Heartworm in dogs can actually be prevented easily. But if your dog already has heartworm, then treatment can be difficult and the cost of heartworm treatment can be exorbitant.

What is Heartworm?

What is Heartworm?Heartworm is both a disease and the animal that causes the disease. Heartworm can affect many types of animals, and in extremely rare cases have also been known to affect humans too. The heartworms are worms that measure about a foot long, and they live in heart and lungs associated blood vessels in the animals they’ve infected.

For dogs, the infection can cause considerable damage to the heart, lungs, and various arteries. Even when you’ve successfully eliminated the heartworm problem, the damage the disease causes can last for a very long time.

How Do Dogs Get Heartworm And What Causes It

Heartworm can only be spread through mosquito bites. A mosquito can take a blood meal from a dog with heartworm, and it picks up baby worms in the process. The baby worms then develop into larvae. When the mosquito then bites into your pet dog after about two weeks, the baby worms then turn into larvae. The larvae get onto the skin surface of the pet dog and gets inside through the bite wound created by the mosquito.

Heartworm Life Cycle

The life cycle of heartworm – The larvae then take 6 months to mature into adult heartworms, and after that it can live for 5 to 7 years more. So it’s possible that every year your pet dog can get bitten by infected mosquitos, so your pet dog can play host to any number of worms.

How Do You Know If Your Dog Has Heartworms

The most common method used to identify dog heartworm infection is through a blood test.  Other tests employed to diagnose the heartworm infection are chest x-rays, ultrasound of the heart and blood tests of the dog liver and kidney.

Treating And Preventing Heartworm

The best heartworm prevention medicines will require a prescription from a veterinarian. For example you can’t buy the popular Heartgard Plus chewable tablets for dogs unless you have a vet’s prescription for it from most of the websites.

Buying Heartgard Without Prescription

However, you can get the meds from the official site here without any vet’s prescription.  They offer a flat shipment rate of US$6.99 regardless of the number of items.

Visit Heartgard Official Site Click Here

Is HeartGard The Best Preventive Heartworms Medicine?

Heartgard is one of the most popular and highly recommended dog heartworms preventing medication.  Many pet owners used it with great results.

Heartguard vs Heartgard Plus

The Plus version is the #1 veterinarian recommended heartworm preventive meds.

Heartgard Regular

Heartgard regular chewable tablets are intended to be used as heartworm preventive medication for dogs, cats, kittens and puppies.

It contains Ivermectin, an active ingredient that kills the immature form of the worms.  It is particularly effective when used against larval heartworms, and not the adult worms.

Heartgard Plus

The Plus, unlike the Regular version, protects more than just the heartworms.  It also protects against the roundworms and hookworms.  The Plus version has been the top vet recommended heartworm preventive solution.

It contains 2 active ingredients – Ivermectin & Pyrantel and is a real-beef tablet.

This chewable tablet is suitable for dogs above 6 weeks old; pregnant, breeding or studs dogs.

heartworm meds for dogsWhere To Buy

Many people often have this question – where can I buy medicine to get rid of the worms infection in my dog and cat?  This is because some sites require doctor’s prescription, and sometimes those sites do not come with product guarantee or free, low shipment costs.

It is recommended that you buy it at this official site.  They often have promotions and discount coupons.  You do not need a vet’s presciption to buy the Heartgard Plus.

Visit The Official Site


The price of the medication costs in the range of between US$40+ to US$90+ for 6 months preventive course.

Generic or Original

Take note that some sites, OTC stores sell the product at a much lower cost.  At first glance, it looks much cheaper.  However, be aware that the cheaper cost Heartgard can be a generic drug and not the original.

Can I Buy Heartgard From Other Online Sites

Yes.  You can buy it from other general websites that sell many other products.  It is still recommended that you purchase it from official site that focuses on treating this condition.

Is There Any Heartgard Plus Special Offer

The official site runs special promotions frequently.  You can check their official site for coupons code here.

Visit Heartgard Official Site Click Here

Heartgard Plus Reviews

Here is a snapshot of the real consumer reviews.  You can visit the official site and read more of the reviews.

Heartgard Plus reviews

Heartgard Plus reviews

Does It Works On All Types Of Worms

Heartgard Regular works on prevention of heartworm.

Heartgard Plus is popular because not only does it prevent heartworm in dogs, but it also controls and treats intestinal parasites like roundworms and hookworms.

How To Give It To The Dog

It’s also gentle enough for a pregnant dog and for puppies at least 6 weeks old. There are also no known food or drug interactions with Heartgard Plus. And since it’s flavored and chewable, administering the drug is very simple, and the dog doesn’t have a problem with it.

Make sure the dog completes the entire dosage.

What If My Dog Does Not Like To Chew

Some of the pet dogs just do not like to chew.  If this happens to be your dog, you can break up the tablet into smaller pieces and feed it to the dog.

Be Consistent

Other options include topical treatments you apply once a month and injectable treatments may be available as well.

These medications work by attacking the heartworm during its immature larval stage. When the heartworm becomes an adult, it becomes a more serious problem which preventive measures can’t help with.

You’ll need to give these treatments the whole year round, even during the months when mosquitos are not “in season”. Missing a single month of treatment may still leave your pet dog protected. But missing more than that can really increase the chance of infection for your pet dog.

If you do miss 2 months of preventive treatment, you have to consult your vet before you restart your preventive measures. And your pet dog will have to be retested 6 months later, to make sure that heartworm weren’t able to infect your dog during those missed months of preventive treatments.

What if the Preventive Measures Fail?

What if the Preventive Measures Fail?It can take as little as 51 days for immature heartworm larvae to turn into adults, so sometimes the preventive measures may be applied to late. And so how do you know if your dog has heartworms?

At first, there really are no symptoms to detect. But when your pet dog is infested with a growing number of heartworms, these parasites will crowd the lungs and the heart.

Most dogs start off with a cough because of the crowding in the lungs. As the disease progresses, your pet dog may become tired much more easily, so they don’t exercise and run around as actively as before. When the heartworm disease enters the more advanced stages, dogs can retain fluids and they may even pass out due to the extreme scarcity of blood going to the brain.

Eventually, if the heartworm disease is left untreated then most infected pet dogs will die. The dogs may suffer liver or kidney failure. The great numbers of heartworm larvae stressing out the vascular system can also lead to sudden death.

Treatment Options

Preventive measures only cost less than $150 a year, but the cost of treatment can be rather more expensive. While continuing with the preventive measures can handle the younger larvae, the adult heartworms can do a lot of damage while they live on for 5 to 7 years.

The usual treatment for heartworm infection involves an extensive pre-treatment workup. This includes blood work, taking X-rays, and doing a bunch of tests to determine the severity of the heartworm infection. All these things can run up to more than a thousand dollars.

The drug that’s used to kill the adult heartworms is called melarsomine. The drug is based on arsenic and it’s injected into your pet dog. Usually, your pet dog is given two or three injections of the drug and the Immiticide kills the adult heartworms living in the blood vessels in the dog’s heart.

Remember, that even if your pet dog has been successfully treated and their heartworm has been eliminated, your pet dog can get them again. They’re not suddenly turned immune to heartworm.

It’s for that reason preventive measures must be maintained continuously, even if it’s not technically mosquito season. Dog owners need to get into the habit of giving monthly preventive medicines for their pets, so that they never miss even a single month that may provide a window of opportunity for infected mosquitos. With heartworm, prevention is truly a better option than giving a cure.