Dirofilariosis in dogs is one of the most deadly diseases, which means that a number of scientific studies have focused on the disease.
At present, there are essential preventive treatment options that are crucial to ensure animal welfare.
Dirofilarios is a heart disease that is usually called heartworm. These parasites live mainly in the right ventricle and pulmonary artery of their host.
In the more severe cases, however, they can also migrate to other parts of the body.
Dogs are not the only animals that can be affected by dirofilarios, the infection can also affect cats. Wolves, foxes and ferrets can also fall victim to heartworm diseases.
The transmission of this parasite takes place with the help of a vector. In this case, the vector is a mosquito belonging to the genera Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex, among others.
These mosquitoes ingest microfilariae which the latter pass on to their victims via a mosquito bite.
The main signs of dirofilariosis in dogs
In the early stages of this infection, animals show no visible symptoms. However, after one year, or even several years after the time of infection, dogs will experience the following disorders:
- A mild but persistent cough
- Reluctance to exercise and fatigue after moderate physical activity
- Lack of appetite which results in weight loss
- Heart failure and swelling in the abdomen – these symptoms are a result of fluid retention, and both occur when the disease is very advanced
- Finally , caval syndrome occurs in cases where dog death is imminent. This begins with difficulty breathing, the presence of pale gums, blood in the urine and finally blockage of the animal’s blood flow, which causes the heart to collapse.
All dogs should receive preventive treatment in the form of a monthly pill. For the same reason, owners must also take their pets for an annual physical check, so that a veterinarian can rule out any infection.
The effect of these heartworm pills is very high. However, it is extremely important that the owners are disciplined when it comes to administering the medicine every month. Missing just one dose can be a big risk for the animal.
Dogs infected with the parasite Dirofilaria immitis can have more than 30 worms in their hearts. The more worms an animal has, the more severe the symptoms become.
At the same time, it is easier to clarify a diagnosis as time goes on and the symptoms become clearer.
Physical examinations, X-rays, ultrasounds and various types of blood tests are necessary to confirm the presence of an infection.
Measures to prevent dirofilariosis in dogs
The mortality from dirofilariosis in dogs makes it necessary for owners to carry out proper prophylactic treatment.
In addition to traditional oral alternatives, there are also topical medications and injections. Each treatment method has a specific frequency in how it should be administered.
All of these drugs work to eliminate immature heartworm larvae. This includes the infectious larva that the vector mosquito deposits through its bites, as well as in the larval stage.
After a period of about 50 days, immature larvae will end up in adulthood. At present, preventive treatments are ineffective.
Given the short life cycle of the parasite, it is extremely important to be strict when performing any preventive measures that your veterinarian has indicated.
In the unfortunate cases where a dog becomes infected, the animal’s veterinarian will draw up a protocol. The type of treatment that a veterinarian chooses has to do with how much the infection has developed, as well as the symptoms.
Treatment has the highest chances of success in asymptomatic cases. However, the severity of an animal’s symptoms is not necessarily an indication of the severity of its disease.
In fact, the sickest dogs, and those with the largest number of worms, may show the least signs of infection.
Dirofilariosis in dogs is one of the diseases that has caused the largest number of deaths in pets. This is true not only in the United States but also worldwide.
But it is the same massive impact that has enabled extensive studies on this infection.
As a result, science has been able to discover effective treatment options to ensure good health for man’s best friend.