Heartworm Signs, Treating Mosquito Bites, Canine Heartworm Symptoms

Heartworm Signs


Heartworm signs symptoms in your canine are caused by the mosquito bite, so if treating mosquito bites on your dog it is always a good idea to take your dog to the vet straight away…

Although swelling may occur around the bite,  symptoms of the disease are very hard to spot so the disease is often a silent killer…

On this page we have aimed to provide the best tips to at least recognize some of the symptoms and how to treat it.

Heartworm Signs & Symptoms


  • Heartworm is a tubular worm or parasite that is transferred to your beloved dog by a mosquito bite. The mosquito transfers the immature worm larvae directly into your dog’s blood stream.
  • Mosquitoes will normally transfer more than one heartworm with the parasites reproducing to cause a culmination of problems.
  • It is quite common for dogs that live outside to come into contact with mosquitoes especially during the warmer seasons.
  • During the second and third stage of the parasites life cycle they will become adult’s.
  • During the third stage of it’s life cycle the worm will produce it’s offspring called microfilari which will live and survive in the blood stream, grow and can live in your dog’s body for many years.
  • When the worm is an adult it can grow very large, some have been found that are 1 foot in length.
  • The male parasite is normally measured at about 23 cm with the female slightly longer at 30 cm – which is really quite long when you consider it is inside your dog!
  • The worms can live in the heart vessels and will block the arteries eventually causing congestive heart failure.
  • Heartworm signs van take up to six months to appear in your dog, so your dog can appear fine until they become very sick.
  • Your vet may decide to perform specific blood tests but it takes time for antigens to begin showing in the blood stream.

Unfortunately canine heartworm symptoms are almost impossible to detect in it’s early stages and it is often too late before the owner realizes that their dog has the disease. In it’s later stages your dog may show some of the following symptoms but it can vary from dog to dog…

  1. Lameness
  2. Seizures
  3. Blindness
  4. Your dog may have problems with arteries in his legs
  5. Problems with the brain
  6. Liver problems
  7. Fainting
  8. Heart failure
  9. Your dog may cough up blood
  10. Weight loss

Sometimes dogs that are particularly active may show signs of the disease earlier, including coughing during exercise.


Heartworm Signs

Treating & Preventing the Disease


As previously mentioned the heartworm signs of disease are difficult to spot so may go unnoticed in it’s early stages which will obviously prevent your dog from being treated effectively. Unfortunately when the disease has become noticeable it maybe too late to save your dog’s life…

Preventative Treatments

However, there are some pretty good preventative treatments out there that can prevent the parasite from taking hold in your dog…some of the treatments are listed below…

Your vet may prescribe pills during the whole year or on a monthly basis including…

  • Ivermectin
  • Heartgard
  • Interceptor
  • Proheart

These have been estimated to be as much as 99% effective at killing the parasite.

Treatment During Later Stages

  • It obviously depends on how bad the infection is and how long your dog has been infected, but treatment may include a test to decide how effective the organs of your dog are now as a consequence of the infection and whether they were effective prior to the infection.
  • After this test has been done your vet may start treating your dog with an arsenic based product that is given in safe doses. Due to effect that the arsenic has on your dog’s organs the previous test must be done to decide on their effectiveness.
  • After the worms have been killed by the arsenic, they will be excreted by your dog.

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