Symptoms of Heartworm Disease: What to Look For

April 9, 2018 6:24 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The sad reality is that heartworm is a silent killer among dogs. These insidious parasites are not to be messed around with. The condition starts with a mosquito bite, but can develop into a serious illness that can result in extensive treatment or death. Often it takes about six months for the worm to reach maturity and symptoms to develop.

If you think your dog might be suffering from heartworm disease, you should call a licensed and trained veterinarian in Bolivar, MO. Let’s take a look at the most common signs that a dog is afflicted with this condition:

  • Persistent cough: This may be the first symptom you notice. In the early stages, the dog may have a soft, dry cough as the worms begin to grow. The parasites cause fluid to build up around the lungs. The cough will get worse and more persistent. The dog may cough up blood or even collapse due to multiplying worms.
  • Difficulty breathing: Worms often invade the lungs, making it difficult for the dog to breathe. The dog’s veins become constricted, and they may struggle to inhale. Fluid is liable to build up around the lungs in these cases, resulting in coughing.
  • Loss of appetite: Because the worms are sucking the dog’s energy dry, even activities like eating become difficult. In these cases, the dog may rapidly lose weight.
  • Allergies: The dog may exhibit an allergic reaction such as asthmatic breathing or other allergic reactions due to the presence of worms. Note that this symptom isn’t terribly common for dogs, and is more common in cats.
  • Protruding chest: The buildup of fluid due to the worms’ presence may cause the rib cage to bulge. This could also be a result of weight loss due to infection.
  • Lethargy: If your pet suddenly has lost their spark for life, worms could be the cause. They will likely not want to go outside, take walks or participate in other normal activities.
  • Fainting: When the dog’s energy has been sucked dry, they may faint or collapse. This is a serious sign of an emergency because of the rapidly multiplying parasites in the dog’s body.

While these are the primary symptoms, it’s also possible your dog may suffer from nosebleeds, blindness, excessive sleeping and seizures. Any of these symptoms could be the sign of something severe and require a trip to the vet.

You want the best for your dog, and nipping a serious condition in the bud is a smart idea. If you’re looking for a highly qualified, trustworthy veterinarian in Bolivar, MO, then you should check out Animal Care Clinic of Bolivar. We pride ourselves on treating a variety of domesticated, exotic and large farm animals. We’ve been in business for over 45 years, offering everything from routine health checks to major surgeries and emergency services.

As your local professional veterinarians, we bring both compassion and concern to state-of-the-art practice techniques and diagnostics. Contact us today or stop by to set up an appointment!

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