If you’re a dog parent, then there’s a possibility that you’ve come across the term heartworms. But heartworms as a health threat is a vast topic. So, if you’re a concerned canine parent wondering how much does it cost to treat heartworms in dogs and other pertinent questions associated with heartworms in dogs, just read on! You’ll learn everything from the symptoms to the costs involved in treating heartworms in dogs.
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What is Heartworm in dogs?
It’s really important to fully understand what heartworms in dogs entail before getting into the specific questions like how much does it cost to treat heartworms in dogs. So, what are heartworms? Heartworm is a potentially lethal parasite. This parasite is unfortunately infamous for infecting dogs. However, the good news is that it is a completely treatable disease.
The parasite Dirofilaria immitis is commonly known as Heartworm. It treats a dog’s body as its host. Heartworms are known for causing health complications associated with the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Heartworms can be a major threat to a dog’s circulatory system.
Heartworm is transmitted through mosquitoes. So although outdoor playtime can be highly beneficial for your furry friend, it can also increase their likelihood of getting infected with heartworms through a mosquito bite. Mosquitoes who have been infected with heartworms can transmit it to dogs by biting them.
The symptoms of Heartworm
Before you even ask yourself how much does it cost to treat heartworms in dogs, let’s focus on understanding the common symptoms of heartworms. Detecting heartworms in dogs can be quite tricky, especially in the early stages of infection. However, the symptoms do manifest as the condition progresses. As the disease advances, it will become easier for you to detect the signs of heartworms. The common symptoms have been stated as follows:
- Difficulty breathing
- High blood pressure
- Enlarged liver
- Intolerance to exercise
- Fainting spells
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chronic heart failure (right-side of the heat)
Just remember to be perceptive of behavioral changes in your furry companion, as a lot of the symptoms above have behavioral implications.
Costs involved in the treatment of heartworm disease in dogs
It’s important to remember that symptom manifestation happens slowly in the case of Heartworm. So, if you’re mindful of the behavioral cues of heartworm disease and the diagnosis is confirmed, the chances of a full recovery may be very high.
Irrespective of the symptom severity, here are the steps you need to follow for the diagnosis and treatment of heartworm disease and the costs associated with each intervention step:
The heartworm test
In case you suspect that your canine companion has heartworm disease, the very step to take is to get them tested at the vet’s office. A positive result on the heartworm test means that your dog has this disease. The cost for this quick and effective diagnostic test is between $35 and $75.
The confirmatory test
Suppose your furry friend has tested positive on the preliminary heartworm test. In that case, your vet will probably prescribe a confirmatory test to confirm this diagnosis. The costs involved in the confirmatory test for heartworm disease in canines can range anywhere between $20 and $40.
Determination of the status of the disease
After a dog tests positive on the confirmatory test as well, the vet will order chest x-rays and an echocardiogram to understand the stage of infection. The cost of an ECHO is approximately $500 to $1,000, and that of a chest x-ray is $125 to $200.
Initial treatment plan
The initial treatment plan focuses on prescribing medications (including melarsomine) to weaken and kill adult heartworms and immature heartworms. The program also focuses on prescribing drugs to minimize the side effects of melarsomine. Doxycycline is a common medication that is prescribed which costs between $30 and $150. Steroids are also given, which cost around $10 to $40.
The final stages of treatment
At this stage, melarsomine injections are administered to the dog, which cost around $500 to $1,500. This is dependent on the dog’s weight. Steroids are also prescribed at this stage.
The follow-up test is called the microfilaria test, which will cost you around $20 to $40.
Therefore, it costs around $1000 to treat heartworms in dogs. Remember the symptoms above to detect this infection early in your furry friend. Always remember that preventing heartworms is significantly better than treating it.
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