In the doghouse

Health - April 5th, 1974

by Dr. Herb Friedman

Heartworms and their pre­vention are also something one can ponder over, par­ticularly the concerned dog owner.

This month, if not done before, dogs should be check­ed for the presence of micro­filaria in the bloodstream which is diagnostic for the presence of adult heart-worms in the right side of the heart.

This serious situation is found in Japan and is also widespread throughout other areas of the world where the weather is balmy. Mosqui­toes are the culprit (not the government who is not even an accomplice this time).

The mosquito bites the susceptible dog and if the animal is not protected by medication, the young stage of the worm enters the tis­sues and then reappears in the bloodstream, passes through the liver (doing its irreparable damage during its sojourn) and finds its way into the right side of the heart via the major vein entering the heart from the liver.

This interval from initial bite until the adult worm reaches the heart is from six to eight months. The adult worm puts out micro­filariae into the bloodstream and these are the early warning signal that is identi­fied during a good blood exam.

There is medication that can prevent your dog from developing heartworm dis­ease. This medication, in a pill form that must be given from April to November on a daily basis, is available from most veterinarians (the good ones).

It is given 5mg/# body weight and if used at this dosage will prevent heartworm disease. If the animal already has heartworm dis­ease, either surgery or injections with an arsenical (CARPARSOLATE only) will relieve the animal of his unnecded burden of adult worms occupying room in­side the right chamber of the heart. Neither alterna­tive (surgery or injection) is without risk but failure to do something about the con­dition will lead to a painful death.