Heartworm Disease What Is It And What Causes It
Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis.The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito. The dog is the definitive host, meaning that the worms mature into adults, mate, and produce offspring while living inside a dog. The mosquito is the intermediate host, meaning that the worms live inside a mosquito for a short transition period in order to become infective . The worms are called heartworms because the adults live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.
In the United States, heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River and its major tributaries, but it has been reported in dogs in all 50 states.
Support Your Dogs Immune System
Your healthy dogs own immune system can prevent heartworm disease. Yes, thats heartworm disease, not heartworms. Theyre not the same thing, as Dr Dupree said.
It means your dog could have heartworms in his body. But they dont have to make him sick.
Think about wild dogs like wolves, coyotes or foxes. These animals are outdoors 24/7. So theyre much more likely to get mosquito bites than domestic dogs who live mainly indoors. Wild dogs might have heartworms but research shows they dont get heartworm disease. And they dont die of heartworms.
Wild dogs are healthier because they eat natural diets. And theyre not exposed to drugs and toxins like domestic dogs.
And you can strengthen your domestic dogs health with a natural lifestyle too. That means
- Feed a natural, raw meat-based, whole food diet
- Minimize vaccines
- Dont use chemicals in your home and yard
- Give your dog fresh spring or filtered water
- Give him plenty of exercise
Even if you arent already doing these things, jts not too late to start. Your dog wont develop a robust immune system overnight. Itll take time but you can help him along by giving some immune boosting herbs and supplements.
The next step in preventing heartworm is
Keep Heartworm Medicine Going All Year Long
Veterinarians have now recommended dog owners to give their dogs heartworm medicine all year round. In some areas of the country where mosquitoes are not very active due to the winter season, dog owners are in the habit of treating their dogs for this disease only for half the year.
However, due to the unpredictable seasonal temperature changes recently, the American Heartworm Society has now recommended that year-round treatment must be done for dogs in every city. This new advice is good practice as it will help you protect and treat your dog for heartworms no matter what the season is. Keep in mind that the mosquito species is changing and adapting itself to the colder climates and due to this, year-round prevention is highly recommended.
You can also protect your dog by keeping it safe from a mosquito. This may seem impossible however, you can lessen the risk by keeping it inside the house and making sure you have sprays and mosquito killing plugs in the house to avoid this disease from latching itself on your dog.
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Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
As with any type of laboratory test, false positive and false negative results on heartworm tests are possible. In particular, dogs who have been bitten by a heartworm-infected mosquito within the last six months will test negative until their heartworms mature. Retesting at an appropriate date will usually reveal that the dog does have heartworms.
If you have any doubts as to your dogs diagnosis, you can ask that your dog be tested for heartworm disease at a later date or using a different type of test.
Dogs who have had heartworms are not immune to reinfection. Ask your veterinarian what schedule of testing and preventative administration is required to avoid future heartworm infections. Most dogs benefit from receiving year-round heartworm prevention.
What Is Heartworm Disease In Cats
Heartworm disease is caused by an infection with the parasite Dirofilaria immitis. Heartworm larvae enter the cat’s body when an infected mosquito bites the cat. Because cats are not ideal hosts for heartworms, the larvae may become weakened and succumb to the cat’s immune system before causing any problems in the cat. This is why it’s somewhat uncommon for cats to develop heartworm disease.
However, if the immature heartworms can survive long enough to travel to the arteries of the lungs, they create an inflammatory response generated by the cat’s immune system. This can cause serious complications like heartworm-associated respiratory disease . Cats may develop chronic lung problems. Others suffer acute distress and need emergency veterinary care. Though uncommon, some cats may collapse and die suddenly.
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Do All Dogs Need Heartworm Medication
In Florida, all dogs need to be administered heartworm preventatives regularly. With heartworms being transferred to dogs by mosquitos, Florida is a common place for dogs to contract them.
In more northern, cooler areas, it may not be as necessary, but we still recommend protecting your dog with preventative heartworm medication. The costs of curing it are significantly more than the cost of preventing it.
Ultimately, giving your dog regular heartworm prevention medication increases the chances of your dog living the long, happy, and healthy life that they deserve.
Is Heartworm Disease Different In Cats
Heartworm disease in cats is a bit different than in dogs. Heartworms in cats do not live as long or grow as long, and fewer of them mature into adults. Worm burdens are lower in cats than dogs. Usually a cat has only one or two worms. However, due to its relatively small body size, a cat with only a few worms is still considered to be heavily infected.
In cats, it takes 7 to 8 months for infective larvae to mature into adult heartworms and produce microfilariae. This is about one month longer than in dogs. The presence of microfilariae in a cats bloodstream is uncommon. Only 20 percent of cats with heartworm disease have microfilariae in the bloodstream, compared to 80 to 90 percent of dogs with heartworm disease. Also, the presence of microfilariae in the bloodstream is inconsistent and short-lived in cats.
It is harder to detect heartworm infections in cats than in dogs. Veterinarians generally use two types of blood tests in combination to check a cat for heartworms. However, negative test results do not rule out heartworm infection, and positive test results may or may not mean that there is an active heartworm infection. A veterinarian uses the results of both blood tests, along with the cats symptoms and the results of other tests such as x-rays and an ultrasound of the heart, to determine if a cat has heartworm disease.
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Dog Heartworm Medication Prices
Although some dog heartworm medications seem expensive, using these preventive treatments is far less expensive than treating an animal with heartworm.
Manufacturers typically sell these medications in multidose packages, commonly 6 or 12, but some brands come in packs of 3. To compare prices from one brand to another, its helpful to calculate the price per dose. Youll typically save a little by choosing a 12 pack over a smaller pack. Also, medications for small dogs cost less than those for bigger dogs. The following are prices for brand-name medications. If you choose a generic, you can expect to pay about half as much as the prices listed here.
Small dogs: $8 to $20 per dose
Medium dogs: $9 to $22 per dose
Large dogs: $10 to $25 per dose
Certain types of heartworm medications also kill other types of immature worm infestations, including hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm.
Can Heartworm Be Treated Or Prevented
Heartworm disease can be treated, but its a long, expensive road to recovery, and youll have to start by addressing any adult worms present.
In heartworm-positive dogs falling between classes 1 and 3, parasite-killing injections can be given once the dogs condition is stabilized.
The injections kill adult heartworms and are only administered in a veterinary setting, as your pooch will require hospitalization and close monitoring. This is necessary because some patients experience inflammation or respiratory distress after receiving these medications.
Once the adult worms have been handled, you can begin treating the larval worms in your dogs body. This part is generally a little safer than the eradication of the adults, but it still poses serious risks.
Existing microfilariae in the bloodstream are eliminated with heartworm preventatives. But you cant just administer the medications and go back to normal life.
Instead, youll need to keep your dog crated with limited activity and excitement for four to six weeks during treatment, with frequent vet appointments needed for examinations and blood tests to monitor your dogs condition.
This reduced activity is critical, as dying worms in your dogs bloodstream can be propelled into smaller veins and capillaries with too much exercise, leading to a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
Heartworm Prevention For Cats
The good news for cat owners and their feline friends is that reliable heartworm prevention for cats does already exist. The American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12”. This means you should give your cat heartworm preventative 12 months a year. Here in LA, because of our mosquito population, we highly recommend all cat owners adhere to this annual preventive medicine protocol.
How To Prevent Heartworms In Cats
Prevention is key when it comes to heartworm disease in cats. It’s more effective to stop the heartworms from infecting a cat than to try to treat a cat with heartworms. There are a number of effective feline heartworm prevention products available. Most are given topically or orally once per month. Ask your veterinarian for information about the best heartworm preventive products for your cat.
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Senergy Topical For Cats
Senergy Topical for Cats is a topical treatment that should be applied on your cats skin and fur only once a month. It helps protect your cat from parasites.
For all kinds of worm infections like heartworms, roundworms, hookworms and infestations like fleas, ticks and mites, use Senergy Topical once a month. Senergy Topical is safe to be used throughout the year but veterinarians recommend using it especially during the mosquito season.
Senergy Topical can be applied on your cats skin by parting the hair on the back of your cats coat. You should also apply it on the base of the neck and in front of the shoulder blades. For effective application of the medicine, place the tip of the tube on the skin and squeeze the tube 3-4 times to empty the entire contents on the skin. Do not massage into skin or apply to broken skin. Do not apply when the haircoat is wet.
Your Dogs Immune Systems Fights Parasites
But your dogs immune system also protects his body from parasites like heartworms.
A well-tuned immune system is the difference between a few heartworms and a large heartworm load that affects your dogs health. Thats what Dr Dupree was talking about.
So a big part of protecting your dog from heartworm is protecting his immune system.
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When Should My Cat Be Tested
Heartworm infection in cats is harder to detect than in dogs, because cats are much less likely than dogs to have adult heartworms. The preferred method for screening cats includes the use of both an antigen and an antibody test . Your veterinarian may also use x-rays or ultrasound to look for heartworm infection. Cats should be tested before being put on prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate to document continued exposure and risk. Because there is no approved treatment for heartworm infection in cats, prevention is critical.
Can I Give My Dog Heartworm Medicine Without Testing
Theres a reason why vets wont prescribe your dog more heartworm prevention medicine until theyve had a thorough exam.
Not only is heartworm medicine ineffective on heartworms that have grown past the larval stage, but giving heartworm prevention to a pet with an active infestation can cause serious side effects and health risks.
Once the adult heartworm matures and begins to reproduce within the body, it will release microfilaria into your pets bloodstream.
The heartworm prevention you administer each month will kill these baby worms, but this treatment can cause adverse effects in the process.
For example, dead microfilaria in your dog or cats bloodstream can become the under certain conditions, which can be deadly for your pet- especially those that are older or already unwell.
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The Heartworm Lifecycle In Dogs
In an infected dog, adult female heartworms release their offspring, called microfilariae, into the dogs bloodstream. When a mosquito bites the infected dog, the mosquito becomes infected with the microfilariae. Over the next 10 to 14 days and under the right environmental conditions, the microfilariae become infective larvae while living inside the mosquito. Microfilariae must pass through a mosquito to become infective larvae. When the infected mosquito bites another dog, the mosquito spreads the infective larvae to the dog through the bite wound. In the newly infected dog, it takes about 6 to 7 months for the infective larvae to mature into adult heartworms. The adult heartworms mate and the females release their offspring into the dogs bloodstream, completing the lifecycle. See a graphic of the heartworm lifecycle in dogs.
Heartworm disease is not contagious, meaning that a dog cannot catch the disease from being near an infected dog. Heartworm disease is only spread through the bite of a mosquito.
Inside a dog, a heartworms lifespan is 5 to 7 years. Adult heartworms look like strands of cooked spaghetti, with males reaching about 4 to 6 inches in length and females reaching about 10 to 12 inches in length. The number of worms living inside an infected dog is called the worm burden. The average worm burden in dogs is 15 worms, but that number can range from 1 to 250 worms.
Can People Get Heartworms From Their Pets
People cannot get heartworms from their pets. Heartworms are only transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. In rare cases, people can get heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito. But because people are not a natural host for heartworms, the larvae usually migrate to the arteries of the heart and lungs and die before they become adult worms.
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Vaccines Suppress The Immune System
As well as having harmful ingredients, vaccines suppress the immune system.
Immunologist HH Fudenberg says if your dog receives just one monovalent vaccine, his cell-mediated immunity will be cut in half. And just two vaccines will lower it by 70%.
Monovalent means the vaccine has a single virus. But most dogs get several at the same time. Heres what HH Fudenberg says about 3-in-1 vaccines:
all triple vaccines markedly impair cell-mediated immunity, which predisposes to recurrent viral infections, especially otitis media, as well as yeast and fungi infections.
Yet most dogs get 3 to 7 vaccine components at a time. They get too many vaccines and much too often. Its no wonder vets worry about heartworm.
But that brings me to
Role Of Wolbachia Pipientis
Wolbachia pipientis is an intracellular bacterium that is an endosymbiont of D. immitis. All heartworms are thought to be infected with Wolbachia to some degree. The inflammation occurring at the die-off of adult heartworms or larvae is in part due to the release of Wolbachia bacteria or protein into the tissues. This may be particularly significant in cats, in which the disease seems to be more related to larval death than living adult heartworms. Treating heartworm-positive animals with an antibiotic such as doxycycline to remove Wolbachia may prove to be beneficial, but further studies are necessary.
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How Common Is Heartworm
The prevalence of heartworm in Australia remains poorly understood. What we know is wherever there are mosquitoes, there is potential for heartworm. There are ongoing studies to help experts find out more about heartworm infection in pets, which will assist in the treatment and prevention of the disease. With the information currently available, it has been concluded that prevention is the best form of heartworm control.
Is Heartworm Treatable In Cats
Since cats have so few heartworms, diagnosis can be very challenging. Cats rarely have microfilaria , so an antigen test is needed to give a diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are no approved medications for treating heartworm in cats. If your cat develops a heartworm infection, you and your veterinarian can only manage, not treat your cats condition. You can learn more about treatment guidelines from the American Heartworm Society.
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Ivermectin For Covid May Not Be Available In Online Pharmacies
FDA has released regulations for online stores. In certain circumstances, Ivermectin for Covid may not be available in online pharmacies or online pharmacies may only have a license from the FDA to manufacture the product. But once you make a purchase online, youll know whether the FDA approved online store is safe and is available to purchase Ivermectin for humans over the counter. Youll also find out, once your product is ready for purchase, if that store is safe and if there is the need for a return process for any medications that may have caused complications or reactions to your use of Ivermectin for Covid. Therefore, we recommend buy Ivermectin for Covid 19 over the counter in our online pharmacy.
Ivermectin is a prescription medicine that is effective, reversible, and is safe and efficient as a treatment for people with Coronavirus. It is available over the counter under several brand names. Ivermectin for Covid is commonly used to treat Coronavirus. If you have symptoms of Covid 19 then we recommend buy Ivermectin for Covid 19 over the counter immediately. You can do this in our online pharmacy using the link above.