Heartworm disease is an infestation of parasitic nematodes, commonly known as roundworms (Dirofilaria immitis) which mature inside of a dog's body. They reach the dog's heart and the blood vessels of the lungs approximately six months after receiving a mosquito bite which injects the parasite. Once heartworms mature, they can cause symptoms ranging from minor coughs to more serious right-sided heart failure — and can be fatal.
The vicious heartworm cycle.
Medication, hospitalization and/or adulticide therapy is a common treatment. Adulticide therapy uses an insecticide to target mature adult roundworms. Heartworm medication may be recommended for continued treatment at home. In more serious cases, a long period of hospitalization may be necessary. In dogs with Caval Syndrome (Dirofilarial Hemoglobinuria), a surgical procedure (Heartworm Embolectomy) may be recommended to remove the adult roundworms from the heart and pulmonary artery. This surgical extraction is performed through the jugular vein and should be used only in the most severe cases.
In many endemic regions, heartworm medications are routinely prescribed as a preventative measure, with or without indication of the presence of the parasites in the canine. These medications can cause harm and even death
Prevention is the focus at Animal Elite. Parasites can only survive (and thrive) in a host with a weakened or compromised immune system. A resiliant dog requires a species appropriate diet, adequate exercise, and healthy metabolic and immune system function. If a dog's body becomes a welcoming host to heartworms, it is primarily due to an inadequate immune system response. Common causes of immune dysfunction include metabolic imbalances and heavy metal toxicity. We can help you provide your dog with optimal nutrition, targeted supplementation, and health-supporting lifestyle suggestions. Working together, we can prevent a heartworm infestation in the first place. Prevention is the best, and least costly option.
Veterinary therapy support: If you are already working with your vet, we provide complementary support to augment conventional veterinary therapy. This includes a toxic heavy metal and nutrient mineral level laboratory test (hTMA). If high toxicity levels or metabolic dysfunction indicators are present, we will recommend specific nutritional supplementation to correct the problems. The main objective of our complementary-care recommendations is to fortify your animal's metabolic and immune system function — making your canine an undesirable host to all types of parasites.