Why do dogs cough when they have heartworms? Find Out Here

5 Signs Your Dog May Have Heartworm Disease

Not all dogs develop noticeable symptoms. While blood tests performed by your veterinarian are the only way to confirm a diagnosis of advanced heartworm disease in dogs, here are 5 warning signs that are reported in dogs with heartworm disease:1 1. Mild Persistent Cough A persistent, dry cough is a common sign seen in dogs with advanced heartworm disease. The cough caused by heartworm disease can be one of the first signs you notice in an otherwise healthy-appearing dog. 2. Lethargy Lethargy and reluctance to exercise are common signs described in dogs with advanced heartworm disease. If your pet loses interest in going for walks or is fatigued after activity, it may be a sign of heartworm disease. 3. Weight Loss Some dogs have a decreased appetite and, as a result, lose weight. 4. Swollen Belly As heartworm disease progresses, it can lead to heart failure. You may notice that your dog’s belly appears swollen from fluid in the abdomen. 5. Difficulty Breathing In the most advanced cases, dogs can develop more severe respiratory issues like rapid breathing in addition to coughing.

In extreme cases, a dog may exhibit one of the most serious signs of heartworm disease: caval syndrome. This is caused by restricted blood flow to the heart. Dogs suffering from caval syndrome will have labored breathing, pale gums, and/or bloody urine. Unfortunately, dogs in this stage rarely survive without surgical intervention.1

Keep in mind that these symptoms may be consistent with signs of other conditions. A blood test performed by your vet is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of heartworm disease. If you have concerns, please contact your vet immediately.

Top Signs That Your Dog May Have Heartworms

Why do dogs cough when they have heartworms?

The disease is caused by worms living in blood vessels, lungs, and the heart, resulting in heart failure in addition to organ damage. Unfortunately, if your four-legged friend manages to contract heartworm disease, it tends to be fatal if left untreated. You must recognize the signs as soon as possible for the best outcome.

Symptoms of Heartworms in Dogs Include:

The most obvious sign of heartworms in dogs is the noticeable and persisting cough that goes along with this disease. It is a dry cough, but it comes frequently and is usually brought on by activity. In dogs who are in the first stages of heartworm disease, the cough may be brought about by even a small amount of play or exercise. However, in dogs in advanced stages, it can be caused by something as simple as eating.

If your dog has a persistent cough that doesn’t seem to clear up in a few days, take them to the vet for a full checkup.

Why do dogs cough when they have heartworms?

Heartworm in dogs

Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, a parasite that can cause extensive health issues and even death in dogs. With that said, most dog owners are aware that their pet should be on heartworm prevention medication. In the case that your dog is infected with heartworm disease, early treatment is important and drastically raises your dog’s chance of survival. Even if your dog is on preventative heartworm medication, it is still important to recognize the signs of heartworm disease, so you can seek treatment as soon as possible, in the unlikely event that your pet gets heartworms.