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.