Is exercise good for a dog with heartworms? Surprising Answer

Exercise Restriction Advice for Dogs Undergoing Heartworm Treatment

Successful treatment of dogs with heartworm infection requires keeping them quiet and calm, as Dr. Brian DiGangi explains.

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How will exercise restriction help my pet?

Exercise restriction can be recommended for a variety of different reasons.

After surgery, most pets need a period of exercise restriction to allow healing. In the case of abdominal surgery, such as a spay or cystotomy (bladder stone removal), veterinarians typically recommend one to two weeks of exercise restriction. In this case, exercise restriction is intended to protect a pet’s incision and internal sutures until healing has occurred. Pets undergoing orthopedic surgery, in contrast, typically require a far longer period of exercise restriction. This allows the bones adequate time to heal before they have increased forces placed on them through activity.

Exercise restriction may also be recommended to manage a pet’s injury. For example, dogs with back pain that is caused by intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) often benefit from a period of exercise restriction. Restricting activity decreases forces that are placed on the spine during movement, allowing time for inflammation to subside. In this case, activity restriction alleviates a dog’s pain and minimizes the risk of disease progression.

Finally, exercise restriction is a component of managing some medication conditions. Dogs with heartworm disease, for example, require exercise restriction before and heartworm treatment, as well as for a short time after treatment. Physical activity increases the likelihood of adult worms causing a pulmonary thromboembolism, which may be fatal. Limiting a dog’s physical activity decreases this risk.

Can I take my heartworm positive dog on walks?Most dogs can be safely leash-walked during the treatment recovery period and providing appropriate chew toys can help relieve some of that stored up physical energy.

  • Keep dogs from running up and down stairs.
  • Stop brisk, long walks and replace with shorter, leisurely walks.
  • Put away the fetch ball.
  • Crate all dogs before answering the door.
  • Do not allow games of chase.
  • Minimize how much jumping up/down off furniture happens.
  • What the Vets won’t tell you! How to kill Heartworms! Also Prevent getting them.

    The American Heartworm Society does state that exercise restriction should begin the same day the diagnosis is confirmed.

    Your heartworm positive dog, after receiving melarsomine treatment will be instructed to remain caged, crated or penned for the duration of this phase of treatment except when they need to go outside to potty. The duration of this phase may be as short as 30 days, or as long as 120 days, but most of my foster dogs were under cage rest for 60 days.