The most common disease affecting dogs worldwide is canine heartworm (CHWD). Heartworm worms that live in the pulmonary arteries of dogs cause the disease. Although it is called “heartworm,” the worms only live in a dog’s heart if the infection is severe.
Heartworm can stress your dog’s heart, causing a violent reaction in the blood vessels that can lead to a variety of serious health issues. Mosquitoes are the vectors responsible for transmitting heartworm to dogs. As a result, there is a high risk of heartworm outbreaks in tropical areas where the temperature and humidity are ideal for mosquitoes.
When a dog is bitten by a heartworm-infected mosquito or ingests heartworm larvae, the worms penetrate the skin and enter the dog’s blood vessels, where they live. Within 3 to 4 months, the larvae develop and even travel to the heart, where they mature into adults and repeat the infection process.
The effects of heartworm disease in dogs can differ depending on how long the disease has been present. Dogs do not show symptoms when they are newly infected or only mildly infected. Heartworm disease, on the other hand, can be severely debilitating and even fatal in some cases. Dogs are rarely diagnosed with heartworm disease because it is so simple to prevent.
Heartworm disease in dogs does not show symptoms until the disease has advanced, especially if the heart is infested with the parasite. Symptoms are frequently caused by heart failure, so pay close attention if your dog exhibits:
- A lot of breathing
- Lazy exercise or insufficient physical activity
- Bloating, coughing, and shortness of breath are symptoms of congestive heart failure (right side).