Training and Care — Tip Of The Week
Excerpt from Our New
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
Heartworm and Other Worm Infections
This is a big one to watch out for. Heartworm larvae are spread by mosquitoes. It's a serious concern because, as the name suggests, heartworm affect the dog's vital organs and can potentially be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms to watch out for include coughing, lethargy and an inability to exercise (all side effects of the worm's effects on the dog's circulatory and respiratory systems). Pneumonia is another serious condition which can be caused by a heartworm infection. Sudden weight loss and loss of interest in food can also be indicators (although these can also be symptoms of other diseases, which is why it's important to get tests done with the vet and not try to self-diagnose your pet).
Heartworm, and all other types of worm infections, are dealt with using medication. Puppies should be wormed several times after you pick them up from the breeder, as pups are typically infected with worm larvae that were dormant in the mother's breasts prior to pregnancy. The sooner you treat the problem the better, and obviously it's best to kill off larvae before they fully develop and start to affect the dog's health. Again, because the parasite has several stages in the life cycle, there needs to be several medication treatments spread out over a period of months in order to kill off worms in different stages of development and ensure the infestation is wiped out.
The types of worm that can affect your dog depends somewhat on your location and climate. Consult your vet for more information on the worm risks in your area and how best to deal with them.
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