Since decades, heartworm disease is infecting the animal world and taking a great toil on life of these animals. It was not less than a few years — a way back when medical and technology have advanced so drastically that today we have a lot more treatments most probably for every disease. Barring some of them, mostly researchers have been able to find out the treatment and prevention methods for all of the dangerous diseases. One such animal disease is heartworm infection. A very dangerous disease, heartworm in too tricky to treat once it contracts an animal especially dogs.
Usually, compared to felines, canines are most vulnerable to this disease and when not treated, this can even result into death. However, with the advancement of the technology, now vets are able to carry out thorough diagnosis to conclude whether a dog has been infected or not. In previous years, this was not at all possible due to limitations in technology. But, now with the changing times everything is possible, lest the risk of treatment is still lingering.
Due to immense growth in medical industry, a simple blood test will help diagnose heartworm disease. With the help of latest tools and technology, further diagnostic tests are able to carried out to find whether the dog can be safely treated or not.
Some of the major diagnostic procedures have been possible to due to today’s technology, which need to be carried out before starting the treatment.
Let us have a look on each of them.
Serological test for antigens to adult heartworms (antigen test, ELISA or SNAP test):
This test needs to be performed on blood sample. Previously due to lack of instruments, it was not possible to perform this diagnosis. This test detects antigens (proteins) developed by heartworms. Dogs with less than four to five heartworms will not show positive result as they cannot produce enough proteins to circulate in the blood. Therefore, for heartworm test to show positive, it should have at least four to five female heartworms.
Blood sample diagnosis under microscope for presence of microfilariae.
Previously, there were no powerful microscopes and due to this, it was not possible to detect immature stages of heartworms behind the lenses. However, with the changing times, powerful microscopes have taken entry into medical arena. Under these advanced microscope, a centrifuged blood sample is examined. The test shows positive in the presence of microfilariae.
Other Blood Tests — CBC, Blood Chemistries, Electrolytes
To perform blood test for kidney or liver function was not possible. However, today abnormalities on the complete blood count, blood tests for liver and kidney function may help find the presence of heartworms. These tests are carried most probably after a dog is diagnosed as heartworm contracted. It is especially carried out to discover the function of the organs prior starting the treatment.
Radiographs (x rays) for Pets:
Today, X-Ray is not taken out as it was in the earlier days. The latest technology has helped to provide more advanced procedures like 3D and 4D X-Ray, which produces in-depth result.
A radiograph of a dog with heartworms will clearly show heart enlargement and swelling of the large artery (pulmonary artery) leading to the lungs from the heart. This diagnosis provides credible evidence of heartworm disease. The information through the Radiograph helps to presume the complications related to the treatment.
Ultrasound for Pets:
Not available previously, it shows the number of heartworms present in the heart chambers allowing to evaluate the general condition of the heart.
Medical Advancement Aids in Treating Heartworm Disease
When treatment comes, there is a certain risk involved in treating this disease. However, compared to early days, it has been lowered and the fatalities are rare.
In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained high levels of arsenic, which used to have toxic side effects. A new drug in the market has less negative effects and provides 95% of success rate in treating infected dogs. However, considering all the diagnosis points and level of the heartworm infection, your veterinarian can advise the best treatment for your dog. For more advanced stage of heartworm disease, a more intense treatment has to be carried out.
Your vet may use injectable drug to kill heartworms present in the organ. These injections may be divided and given at an interval of 30 days. In more severe cases, your vet may recommend surgery that will be safer to treat the organ damage rather than risk the treatment to kill the heartworms. It solely depends on the severity of the heartworm infection and what procedure your vet may apply for Treating Heartworm Disease.
Looking at the risk factors involved in treating heartworm disease, usually veterinarians recommend to put your dog on heartworm preventives. The constant research and advancement in veterinary medical industry has equipped us with preventives which are highly effective. Regularly administering heartworm control preventive invariably supports in protecting your pooch from this dreadful disease. Starting a heartworm prevention program not only controls heartworm infection but also prevents this disease. There are many safe and affordable heartworm preventives available in the pet mega stores online. Let with the help of the latest technology not a single pet should ever have to endure this dangerous disease.