Can Dogs Feel Heartworms?


As a dog owner, you’re probably familiar with heartworm symptoms, signs, and risks. But can your dog feel heartworms? In a way, yes.

Your dog can feel the discomfort

that comes with heartworms hatching from larvae stages into adulthood. They can also feel them moving from one spot to another inside their body, especially if they’re affecting your dog’s lungs and breathing. Typically, your dog will develop a consistent cough, which is the first sign that they’re feeling the effects of the heartworms moving around in their veins and organs.

If you want to know more about heartworm signs and symptoms

and how to diagnose your dog quickly if you suspect they have heartworm disease, continue reading for more information and the science behind how dogs can get infected and what they can feel when it comes to heartworm disease.

Signs Your Dog Has Heartworms

Your dog is likely displaying body language cues that can help you diagnose their heartworm condition. The most prominent sign to look for is a persistent dry cough. If your dog has a cough that won’t go away, it’s a clear indication that they might be suffering from heartworm issues. This occurs because the parasite travels through your dog’s lungs and surrounding veins, obstructing breathing.

Additionally, your dog may appear excessively sleepy and lethargic. If your usually active dog suddenly becomes inactive, lethargic, or weak, it’s time to take them to the vet.

Other signs to watch out for include difficulty breathing, panting, scratching, drooping ears, weakness, low tail carriage, raspy panting, and dilated pupils. These body language cues indicate that your dog may be experiencing heartworm symptoms.

Other Signs

There are more signs to look out for that may indicate something is wrong with your dog. These signs include a lingering cough, reluctance to eat, a loud or irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, reluctance to exercise, weight loss, and coughing up blood.

History of Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm is caused by mosquitoes and affects dogs, cats, ferrets, and other mammals. Once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes about seven months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Mosquitoes have been infecting canines with heartworms for as long as dogs and mosquitoes have coexisted.

The adult heartworms reside in the dog’s heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels, reproducing and growing up to 12 inches in length. They can reproduce up to 250 times in a dog’s system and have a lifespan of about 7 years.

There is no other way for a dog to be infected with heartworms other than through a mosquito bite. Unfortunately, it is challenging to avoid mosquito bites, and heartworm infections have been reported in all 50 states. Prevention is crucial for protecting your dog from heartworms.

The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Heartworms

Heartworms are a severe condition that can be fatal if left untreated. Prevention is essential, as is taking immediate action after a diagnosis.

Heartworm disease has four stages, similar to cancer. In the first stage, it is difficult to detect any difference in your dog’s health, even with a physical check-up from a vet.

In the second stage, your dog may experience a lingering cough and increased fatigue. They may become excessively tired despite being an energetic dog. In the third stage, your dog will start to feel the impact of heartworms. The cough will persist, exercise will be limited, breathing difficulties may arise, and they may even cough up blood.

By stage four, your dog is likely to have long-term health implications, such as enlarged liver or lungs and heart conditions.

Training Your Dog to Heal from Heartworms

Treating heartworms can be expensive, but the real effort comes in the months following treatment. To ensure proper healing, you’ll need to keep your dog calm and restrict their activity.

Studies show that most dogs that die after treatment do so because their owners allow them to exercise too soon, without giving them enough time to heal.

As the heartworms die after treatment, they break up into pieces, which can cause blockages in the pulmonary vessels. The more your dog moves and returns to their routine, the higher the likelihood of these blockages occurring. Training your dog to rest, stay off their feet, and maintain calmness will be crucial in helping them recover.

“Prevention is key, but fast action and proper care are vital when it comes to treating heartworm disease in dogs.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Look out for signs of heartworm disease in your dog, such as a persistent cough, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and a protruding chest cavity. These symptoms indicate that your dog may be suffering from heartworm issues and should be taken to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.

2️⃣ Pay attention to your dog’s body language, as it can provide cues that they may have heartworms. Watch for panting, scratching, drooping ears, weakness, low tail carriage, raspy panting, and dilated pupils. These signs may indicate that your dog is experiencing discomfort due to heartworms.

3️⃣ After treatment for heartworms, it is crucial to keep your dog quiet and limit their physical activity. The worms can break up into pieces, causing blockages in the pulmonary vessels, so allowing your dog to rest and heal properly is essential for their recovery. Training your dog to stay off their feet and keeping them calm during the healing process will help prevent complications.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. What are some signs that my dog may have heartworms?
– A soft, dry cough that won’t go away
– Lethargy or weakness
– Difficulty breathing or panting
– Protruding or bulging chest cavity
– Body language cues such as panting, scratching, or dilated pupils

2. How is heartworm transmitted to dogs?
– Heartworm is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

3. Can heartworms be fatal if left untreated?
– Yes, heartworms can be a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated.

4. What are the stages of heartworm disease in dogs?
– Heartworm disease is divided into four stages, with the later stages resulting in more severe symptoms such as coughing up blood and long-term health implications.

5. How should I care for my dog after heartworm treatment?
– It is important to keep your dog quiet and off their paws after heartworm treatment to prevent complications. Giving them proper time to heal and limiting their activity is crucial for their recovery.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

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