HEART WORM IS A KILLER and it is a nightmare that you never want to come true to hear the words that your dog is affected by this dreadful parasite.
We have just had our first ever positive heart worm test and it’s rocked everyone here at ABC Rescue. We are so shocked it is hard to know how to function. But function we must!
Our beautiful Amber needs help, it may be too late to save her, but we will try.
Amber is only 6 years old, she has the promise of a beautiful life and family ahead of her, and then she is hit with this possible death sentence..
We have her booked in to see the heart specialist on Monday.
Heartworm is spread to the dog by a mosquito bite. The mosquito bites the dog and the larvae go straight into the tissues of the dog. From there they quickly move into the bloodstream and migrate to the right ventricle of the heart. From within the heart they mature into adults, they mate and they produce microfilaria which circulate in the bloodstream. This means that if they get bitten by another mosquito, that mosquito then becomes a carrier to infect another animal. It takes about 6 – 6 ½ months for the larvae to mature into adults and to start breeding, so Amber’s infection is not a new one.
In the early stages of the disease there are not usually any symptoms or clinical signs to alert you, but as the disease progresses the signs become more noticeable and include coughing, rapid fatigue with exercise, reluctance to exercise and sometimes collapsing. In advanced stages of the disease the dog will develop congestive heart failure, and will lose weight, have poor body condition, breathe rapidly and with difficulty, develop a buildup of fluid in the abdomen and eventually cause death by heart failure. There is treatment available to rid the dog of the heartworm and the microfilaria and this is usually successful if caught early enough.
The specialist will be able to determine how bad Amber is infected and decide the best course of action for treatment.
We hope that the damage already done is reversible and that Amber will be a candidate for a simple course of medication and close monitoring whilst she recovers, but there is the chance it will be must more serious than that.
Please keep her in your prayers and ask that she have an angel to watch over her to get her through this.