It is fairly simple to notice flea infestation on your dog. What is more, once you get about it and are conscientious, it is fairly easy to get rid of it, too. However, there are other different parasites your pet may be infested with, which can lead to severe health problems and which, alas, are not that easily noticeable.
Symptoms of heartworms in dogs
Usually, however, the only symptoms that there are are difficult to notice, especially in dogs leading a sedentary lifestyle. One of the earlier symptoms is coughing (particularly after and during exercise), later weigh loss, fainting, counghing up blood and, finally, congestive heart failure.
If you suspect your pet has gone down with heartworms, call the vet immediately. The sooner you get about fighting these parasites, the better. Before any treatment is administered, your dog will have to be evaluated for heart, liver, and kidney function. All this is necessary to determine if the animal is strong enough for treatment.
Once your dog has finished treatment, it needs to rest a great deal for several weeks. This is essential so as to make sure no dead worms break lose and travel to the lungs, where they can cause respiratory failure and the animal's death.
To cheer you up a bit, there is a wide variety of drugs available which successfully prevent heartworm infestation. These include oral pill or tablet (ivermectin, milbemycin oxime) or topical liquid that the owner squeezes from a tube onto the pet's back (selamectin, moxidectin). However, before you start using any medicines, you had better have your dog tested for heartworm and consult a vet.