What Dog Owners Need to Know About Heartworms


owners tend to be very aware of the possible ailments that dogs are predisposed to every day. They also seem to have a good idea on how to handle such problems even before they affect their pets. When tests show a positive diagnosis, the owner is always handy with the appropriate solution. However, there seems to exist a problem that baffles all of us: heartworms. The issue is that most people who keep dogs underestimate what this condition can do to the pets. They are fleetingly aware of its existence but do not realize that it can cause extreme sickness or even death, so they carry on as if it is just another dog disease.

The damage heartworms do

There is only one cause of heartworms, a bite from an infected mosquito. The tricky bit here is that you do not know how and when this will happen, so you should protect the dog at all times possible. If a dog is bit, the heartworms attach themselves to the blood vessels and start growing slowly. They reproduce around the heart and its cells. If untreated, they cause permanent damage to the cardiovascular system and ultimately, death. The relief here is that there is only one way of your dog being infected and therefore prevention is geared towards avoiding the mosquito.

Note that an infected dog cannot infect another dog. Even if a mosquito that bites an infected dog and then comes to your dog the same night cannot pass on the disease because it has to undergo an incubation period before being capable of spreading the parasite. This worm also cannot be passed on to you if you handle a sick dog. This is because it is only transmissible to cats, ferrets and dogs.


You can give your dog some monthly pills as a preventive measure. You can also use an oral topical to apply on the skin. Finally, you can use an injectable product on your dog every six months. For the one that works on a monthly basis, you must ensure that one dosage follows another to avoid possible relapses. All these solutions are very cheap, and will actually cost you between $70 and $90 the whole year, depending on the size of the dog.

How to detect the disease

What dog owners need to know about heartworms is that they will not manifest themselves for the first few months. When they reproduce enough, the worms will choke up the dog, and you will know because a deep cough starts to grow .You will also notice that the pet is not as energetic as before. As the symptoms advance, water retention starts to occur. Over time, the dog also starts passing out regularly and if no action is taken, it can die.

If you establish that your dog is suffering from heartworms, there are reliable arsenic based products that you can inject it with for two or three times. However, the best way of treatment is by use of X-rays, blood sample and various tests that show how ingrained the worms are. The costs here could become very high, which is why you need to consider prevention first.

Watch for hot spots on your dog’s skin

dogskin1When dogs are exposed to allergic reactions and mite, insect or flea bites, they tend to scratch their skin aggressively, causing a skin condition known as hot spot. Constant chewing and licking makes the condition worse, making the area affected to become moist red, bloody and in some cases, inflamed. It is important that you watch for hot spots on your dog’s skin so that you can know when to seek the services of a veterinarian for treatment. Let’s take a look at what causes hot spots, how you can avoid them, and of course how they can be treated so that you can guarantee your pet a healthy life.

So, what causes hot spots?

You may wonder, what really causes hot spots? Many cases of this skin condition are attributed to allergies, especially for grass, weeds, trees, dust mites and some types of dog food. According to vets, there are dogs which also tend to scratch themselves due to fleas and insect bites. Generally, when a dog continually scratches its skin, the exposed area get’s infected with bacteria known as staphylococcus. This bacterium develops, taking advantage of the inflamed skin. The infection can be deep and, besides appearance of moist oozing, an odor may be present.

How can you avoid hot spots?

As a rule of thumb, ensure that your dog has clean, healthy skin, and this means seeing that it is free from ticks and fleas. For those people who have dogs with thick and heavy coat, it is recommended that they groom their pets regularly to avoid matting of the coat. Matted fur tends to trap parasites like fleas, making it an ideal environment for hot spots.

If your dog has suffered this skin condition in the past, do not hesitate to use medicated bath additives as this reduces the underlying problems through allergy management and flea control. Also don’t forget to keep their hair clipped, especially during the summer season. Keep all allergies under control and make frequent visits to your veterinarian.

HelenAfterBiospotSmWhat treatment options are available?

The ultimate goal of treating hot spots is basically eliminating the bacterial infection, identifying and removing underlying triggers, and of course relieving the itching and pain. The vet usually clips the hot spot to allow for initial cleaning and topical medications are applied. The treatments can include creams, sprays or even ointments, all of which are usually prescribed 3-4 times a week, and if the condition is more severe, then it is extended longer. For dogs with itchiness a short course of some corticosteroids, such as prednisone, is administered to relieve the pain and consequently get rid of the inflammation.

As a pet owner, it is recommended that you watch for hot spots in your dog’s skin so that you can easily identify them as soon as symptoms begin to show up. Learn how to prevent this skin condition and treat it effectively if your dog happens to suffer from it. As a rule of thumb, keep your dog well groomed and visit your vet regularly.

The Dangers of Dog Bloat

BloatedDog1Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), or bloat, as it is commonly known, is a life-threatening emergency that is a particular threat for some dog breeds. Bloat is a stomach distention condition caused by a build-up of gas. Basically, the stomach fills with gas that causes it to flip and twist major blood vessels, cutting off blood flow. Bloat is most commonly found in large-breed, deep-chested dogs because their stomachs can move freely.

The Dangers of GDV to Your Pet

In addition to the loss of blood to the stomach, blood-flow to the spleen can also be comprised in this condition. The most common signs and symptoms of bloat to watch for are signs of abdominal pain, enlarged abdomen, lethargy, and even attempted “retching.”

Dogs suffering from GDV do not vomit, so you may notice a hunched-over appearance where the victim dog retches and tries to throw up, but nothing comes out. If your dog is a large breed one and it has such symptoms, you should contact a veterinarian immediately. In a dog bloat emergency, time is absolutely essential to survival. If the spleen and stomach stay twisted for too long without proper supply of blood, the prognosis will become worse and possibility of death increases.

Your vet may address a bloat emergency with surgery. After the dog’s stomach has been decompressed and returned to its normal anatomic position, the surgery will be used to suture or “tack” the stomach to the abdominal wall. This is mainly to prevent the stomach from ever flipping again. This surgical procedure is usually successful provided that the tack heals properly to prevent an extra GDV episode. If you have a predisposed breed, you may have it tacked as one of the preventative measures at a relatively young age.

Usually, dogs suffering from GDV are septicemic – which means they have bacteria in their blood streams – and they usually require hospitalization after surgery where they will be monitored and provided with broad-spectrum antibiotics.

dog-bloat2Ventricular arrhythmia is yet another complication that comes with the dangers of dog bloat. This is an abnormality of the heart’s electrical conduction system. It is also a sequel of sepsis which is a bacterial in the dog’s blood, causing the heart inflammation. These particular arrhythmias can sometimes be fatal and very serious after surgery. It is therefore important for every dog with a bloat to be carefully monitored, especially after surgery for this condition.

According to the statistics, the most common breeds with high risks of the dangers of dog bloat include the St. Bernard, the Great Dane, and Weimaraner. If you own of these breeds of a dog, it is very important and necessary to take some preventative measures. It is a good idea to know how to identify warning signs and symptoms of this condition.

Having a veterinarian checking or administering your pet with the right vaccine when necessary is a good thing to do as well. You should also understand that predisposed breed of dogs are fed smaller amounts of water and food more often instead of large meals and keep your pet quiet sometime after eating.

Remember, bloat is a serious condition, which can be deadly to your pet. Always respond immediately as soon as possible since the dangers of dog bloat are relatively high.

The Importance of Routine Dog Vaccinations

Vaccinating your dogs is as significant as vaccinating newborn babies. It protects them from diseases that could harm them in the future. Therefore, to ensure your dogs are in an appropriate health condition, giving them routine vaccinations is of crucial importance and should always be considered as a responsibility as a dog owner. Injecting these dog’s shots is painful but will save your dog’s life, not to mention you from possible hospital fees if your dogs get sick due to lack of vaccines.

How Do Dog Vaccinations Work?

Dog vaccinations work by stimulating their immune system, hence helping their body generate antibodies that will defend them from particular types of viruses and bacteria. These dog’s shots are little portions of a disease, and through injecting these vaccines prior to their exposure to a disease, their antibodies will respond to keep the disease from developing and harming the dogs. All that being said, it’s profoundly important to keep your dog’s shots up-to-date that will keep them from any illness down the road.

What Are the Types of Dog Vaccinations?

Dog’s vaccines have two types: Modified Live Vaccine and Killed Vaccine. A Modified Live Vaccine is a small fragment of a live disease. Even though it’s alive and people would usually think that it could infect dogs instead of vaccinating them, drug companies guarantee that this portion of a certain disease used as a vaccine will actually help dogs fight against the infection of the disease in the future. Unlike a Modified Live Vaccine, a Killed Vaccine is inoculated into dogs after the disease-causing viruses and bacteria have been killed.

image_07What Diseases Are Your Dogs Susceptible To?

There are a number of diseases your dogs are subject to, and some of them are reportedly very serious and fatal. For you to show them how huge their part in your life is, regular vaccinations should always be deemed as a high-level priority. Through giving them frequent shots, you keep them safe from detrimental and lethal diseases such as Parvovirus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Coronavirus, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, and rabies.

Veterinarians vouch for the significance of vaccinations to keep dogs from diseases like mentioned above. As per what most vets say, it’s essential to begin giving shots to puppies at age of 6 weeks. Inoculations must resume when they reach their 8th week, and then another set of shots on their 12th week. The fourth and last round of initial vaccinations for puppies takes place when they turn 16 weeks old. After that, vaccinations may be performed annually. On the other hand, it is recommended to have your puppies inoculated for rabies as they turn their 6th month. You can get your puppies annual shots for rabies thereafter.

Many owners have this nagging question if routine vaccinations are harmful to their dogs. It is understood that you might get skeptical about giving your dogs repeated vaccinations because they’re part of your life and you love them as much as you love your loved ones. But there’s nothing you should worry about because, as experts say, there’s no any harmful thing will happen to your dogs upon taking vaccinations.

Prevention is always better than cure, and vaccinating your dogs is such a preventive means. Keep your dog’s shots up-to-date and allow them to enjoy their life with you, both as their master and family who really takes good care of them.