Learn what is heartworm disease and why it’s so important to monitor:

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Important steps to take AFTER treatment has begun:

Treatment for heartworms consists of killing the adult worms with injectable medication.

The dog may be required to stay at the hospital for 3-4 days.

After treatment, the adult worms die and are carried by the blood to the lungs where they lodge in small blood vessels. There they decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months.

Reactions to the drugs are not uncommon, and there is always some risk involved in treating a dog for heartworms.

Following treatment, complete rest is needed to prevent lung damage from the dead, decomposing worms for 6-8 weeks.

Exercise:

  • Enforced Rest is ESSENTIAL!

  • Positively NO Strenuous Exercise for 8 weeks!

  • It is best to limit your pet to leash exercise only long enough to urinate and have bowel movements.

  • Avoid all excitable circumstances and stress as much as possible.

  • Do NOT leave outside in extremely hot weather...increased heat=increased panting=increased heart rate=increased risk of blood clots

The heartworms will die over the next 6 weeks. As they die and are broken down, pieces of them could lodge in other parts of the body’s blood vessels, causing unnecessary complications–if your pet’s activity is too strenuous. THE FIRST 30 DAYS AFTER TREATMENT ARE THE MOST CRITICAL!

You will be excited to have your pet home and sometimes owners feel bad about limiting their dog’s “fun” activities. DO NOT FEEL BAD. It is better to limit activity for a few weeks versus the potential catastrophic and even deadly complications that can occur if you do not.

Watch for:

  • Coughing FREQUENTLY or coughing up blood

  • Refusal to eat or lethargy

  • Blood in the urine or bowel movements

  • Labored breathing

Think about it like this....any activity that increases their excitement, increases their heart rate and puts them at risk. This means even your greetings with your dog when you get home should be toned down. Think LOW ENERGY for your own actions. Use a crate if you need to. Put treats in a Kong with peanut butter and freeze it. Freeze marrow bones. These are all ways to keep your dog occupied without stressing its heart.

 

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