Is Your Pet Heartworm Positive? Track Stages of Heartworm Symptoms

Presently, when heartworm infection is becoming quite common among pets, it is always beneficial to be aware of the warning signs of this disease – a silent killer or its health complications. Generally, this silent killer does not show early signs and if it does, they are so minor that it goes overlooked. And by the time if these little complications go overlooked, it can be an expensive treatment or put your pet’s life in danger.


Fortunately, the heartworm is preventable. In fact, preventing heartworm in pet lies in knowing what causes it, its risk factors and then doing all you can do to ward off the risks.  There is much that you can do to protect your pet against heartworms. But, what can you do if your pet already has heartworm? Heartworm symptoms are subtle and complicated to discover. An infected pet often shows only symptoms when the disease has developed to a more advanced stage. So it can be tricky to treat it.

Let’s see in detail what happens and what to do with heartworm positive pet?

The heartworm disease is passed by four stages with different symptoms from a mild cough to a persistent cough. If left untreated, the symptoms become gradually severe and damage lungs and heart. Only based on the stages of disease and age of a pet, vet recommends the appropriate treatment.  So, as a pet owner, it is important for you to educate yourself with the four major stages of heartworm symptoms.

Stage 1: Pet at first stage generally shows no signs to a very few signs of illness, like the slight cough.

Stage 2: During the second stage, the heartworm can be determined by moderate symptoms including coughing, fatigue after exercise, weight loss and a scruffy appearance.

Stage 3: Pet in stage three have very severe and noticeable clinical signs. Pet continues coughing as well as probably experience respiratory difficulty, anemia and right-sided heart failure.

Stage 4: By stage forth, the disease makes a real impact on pet’s wellbeing. He hesitates to exercise, exhibit a cough, and experience breathing problem as well. Diagnosis may disclose the impact of the disease as pet’s lungs sound abnormal, an inflamed liver, and improper heartbeats. Lastly, it can lead to the failure of multi-organ system.

Your Pet Gets Heartworms – in Warm, Humid Regions

The warm temperatures and high humidity areas have especially high rates of heartworm disease. This is because mosquitoes love warm, humid area and they mostly thrive in summer and fall. The climate, the species of mosquitoes and presence of breeding mosquito are the most affecting factors for heartworm development.

What to do if Your Pet is Heartworms Positive?

  • If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pet, head to the vet for checkup. He may recommend a series of diagnostic tests to determine the stage of the disease and the significant damage of your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
  • Exercise restriction is recommended because physical activities increase the chances of damaging the heart and lungs.
  • If your pet is at fourth stage of heartworm, your vet may recommend some appropriate therapy, including arsenic-based injection, drugs to treat heart and lung symptoms and general nursing care prior to starting treatment.
  • For pet with severe problems or other complications, there may be a chance to hospitalize him. In extreme cases, all adult and immature worms may be surgically removed from the internal organs. However, this surgery is more expensive and quite complicated that’s why prevention and early recognition are best options.
  • Also, follow-up testing after about 6 months of treatment is required to confirm that the infection has resolved.
  • To prevent new heartworm infections from developing, you can administer heartworm prevention treatment year-round for the rest of his life.