How painful is heartworm treatment for dogs? Surprising Answer

And how can I help him recover?

How painful is heartworm treatment for dogs?

You just found out your dog has heartworm disease, and your vet stressed that your pup should start treatment right away. But youre probably wondering if it’ll be painful for him.

Well, heartworm treatment is lengthy and intense, and requires a lot of medication, including a few rounds of a not-so-pleasant injection. There’s also hospitalization and lots of testing, too.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Zach Marteney, a veterinarian and medical director at Meadowlands Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey, to find out just how painful heartworm treatment can be for your dog.

What should I do after my dog’s heartworm treatment?

It is critical that your dog be allowed to rest following their injection. Heartworm treatment in dogs kills the Adult heartworms within a few days, but further complications can occur while their corpses are decomposing. It can take several months for the heartworms to be reabsorbed into the patients bloodstream. Most post-treatment complications arise from these fragments of decomposing heartworms, so to minimize this risk your dog must not be allowed to exercise and should be kept as quiet as possible for the first month following treatment. For seven to eight weeks following injection, a cough will be noticeable. If this cough persists beyond this or is especially severe, as well as if your dog is demonstrating shortness of breath or fever, contact your veterinarian right away.

Is heartworm treatment painful for dogs?

The melarsomine injections are pretty painful for dogs, which means you’ll need to give your dog even more medication.

“The injection is painful,” Dr. Marteney said. “So a pain medication is also given at that time.”

The arsenic-based formula is what makes melarsomine so painful. And there’s a hefty amount in each dose, making it a little extra achy.

“The treatment for heartworm disease is a chemotherapeutic agent that irritates the tissues where it is injected,” Dr. Marteney said. “It is also a relatively large-volume injection, so there is mechanical damage to the muscle where it is injected.”

All About Heartworms, Treatment, and Recovery

I’ve talked about heartworm prevention a million times, and I’ve heard all of the excuses. Clients say: “not my dog, she’s not at risk for this! She only goes outside to go potty.”

But, heartworm disease IS a risk for your dog, and it can make a huge dent in your pocketbook. In this post, I will explain heartworm treatment and why prevention is a much better option.

Cats can get heartworm disease. For more on this disease and its effect on cats, check out our previous blog post on Feline Heartworm Disease.

Let’s refresh your memories about heartworm disease itself. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos. All it takes is one infected mosquito to bite your pet and spread the disease. Have you ever had a mosquito in your home? “Inside” pets are still at risk for heartworm!

From the time the infected mosquito bites your dog to the time that your vet can detect the disease is about six months. In the early stages of heartworm disease, there typically are no major outward signs or symptoms. However, during those six months, worms are traveling to your dog’s lungs and heart where they continue to increase in size and number.