Now, what exactly are heartworms, how are they caused and how are they treated? I asked the same questions. Sandi Outlaw, owner of KC P.A.W.S., shed some light on this and I wanted to share with others who may not be aware as well.
Heartworms are spread through Mosquitos. That is why it is important to keep your dog on preventative all year and why it doesn't matter if your dog is just a little dog that basically goes outside to potty and back in the house and doesn't go anywhere .Mosquito's are everywhere. Not all mosquitos carry heartworm of course but you have no way knowing. Heartworm is less predominate in areas where there aren't mosquito's obviously and less predominant in rural areas where everything is spread out as the mosquito's range is not huge but here in the City it is a big deal.
Heartworm treatment involves a series of injections of basically modified Arsenic....yes....Arsenic poison..... The injections are given directly into the spinal column of the dog....well into the muscles of the spinal column....it is extremely painful.
Once the injections are done (some dogs do 2 injections 1 day apart....other dogs do one injection and wait a month then 2 injections one day apart). The dog must remain quiet for approximately 6 weeks......no activity that is going to get them excited....out to potty on a leash and back inside to be crated or kept quiet. The reason why is because as the heartworms die they begin to slowly dissolve and break into small pieces which are traveling through the bloodstream with every beat of the heart....so the chances of an embolism happening...is very high.....could cause a stroke, could cause death. The more the heart "pumps" from a dog getting excited, the more little chunks of dead worms are thrown into their bloodstream...that is why the dog needs to be kept quiet. After about 6 weeks the worms dissolve completely and the danger is over.
A big thank you to Sandi for taking the time to educate me on Heartworms and why it is so important to have your dog on a monthly heartworm preventative.