Dogs infected with heartworm disease don’t typically exhibit symptoms until it has advanced significantly, which underscores the significance of administering monthly preventative medication to them. Should your pet become infected, however, an injectable drug called Melarsomine may be prescribed as treatment to combat adult worms effectively while providing restful recovery periods to minimize complications post-treatment. It is therefore imperative that understanding dog behavior post-heartworm treatment allows their canine companion to get through this difficult period successfully and with minimum complications.
First, your veterinarian will administer a drug to kill juvenile heartworms while under sedation in order to monitor for any adverse reactions. 30 days later, they’ll administer the Melarsomine treatment – 24 hour injections every 24 hours separated for two days in hospital – which includes possibly administering Doxycycline in order to destroy bacteria called Wolbachia that reside inside heartworms and are associated with their growth and reproduction.
Once adult worms die, their decomposition begins in your dog’s lungs and blood vessels. As these dead worms disintegrate they resemble spaghetti-like threads in his heart and vessels and may interfere with bloodflow into his lungs, potentially leading to serious illness in some instances. Enzymes within his body need time to break down and absorb these dead worms; for this reason your pup must remain on total rest with no exercise or other forms of stimulation for up to one year post treatment.
Your pet may appear quiet and sleepy during this period, so it is crucial that you provide him with plenty of love and affection. Maintaining their usual schedule may help as it keeps their mind off their heartworm recovery process.
Your dog will require monthly medications to prevent the development of heartworms for six months, as well as treats and toys to distract him from thinking about his treatment process, thus making the experience less stressful for him.
Your vet will conduct follow-up radiographs to ensure all adult worms have been killed, and prescribe microfilaricide to kill any remaining ones if any remain. After four weeks retesting for heartworms (if positive) another dose will be given; otherwise they’ll just wait another four weeks and repeat this process if positive – otherwise your dog has cleared his or her heartworms and can live normally; should the test results become negative, treatment options can then be discussed with you as appropriate by your veterinarian.