Allowing vigorous activity at any time in these 8 weeks can cause the weakened heartworms to shatter, causing a clot of worm fragments that blocks off blood flow to the lungs, brain, or other organs (“shaking the tree” phenomenon). This causes a stroke or sudden death.
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.
Step 7: Home Care During Heartworm Treatment
Strict rest is imperative for 6-8 weeks. This means that your pet can be leashed walked outside to urinate and defecated, but must come back inside to rest. Do not allow your pet to run, jump, climb stairs, or play rough with other dogs or children.
The injections are given within the muscle and can indeed be uncomfortable, but the inflammation that develops within the days following creates the most discomfort. Restlessness, panting, trembling and reduced appetite can all be signs that the dog is uncomfortable.
From the first injection until six to eight weeks following the last injection, it will be absolutely essential to keep your dog quiet. That means strictly restricting all exercise and activity that would elevate your dog's heart rate or increase his blood pressure.
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.
Treatment for heartworm can cause serious complications for your pet's health and can be potentially toxic to the dog's body. Many dogs experience soreness and swelling at the site of their injections. The most severe side effects are related to a large number of worms suddenly dying.
Rest for 60 days (ideally in a crate): Rest is the single most important factor to successful heartworm treatment. This means 4 weeks of strict rest for your dog after each melarsomine injection.
Restrict exercise– no running, walks for exercise or rough-housing. Generally speaking, it's ok to walk your dog outside to use the restroom or to sit outside to enjoy the weather, but no walks (short or long) for exercise. Your veterinarian may have alternative recommendations.
Enforced Rest is ESSENTIAL! Positively NO Strenuous Exercise for 8 weeks! The heartworms will die over the next 6 weeks. As they die and are broken down, pieces of them could lodge in other parts of the body's blood vessels, causing unnecessary complications–if your pet's activity is too strenuous.
Twenty-six dogs (52%) experienced minor complications, such as injection site reactions, gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance), and behavioral changes (lethargy, depression) during or after heartworm treatment.
There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are rare. "A new drug is available that does not have as many side effects, allowing successful treatment of more than 95% of dogs with heartworms."
Some dogs experience nausea and are lethargic. These symptoms will usually ease over a couple of days. Though some dogs do not experience the muscle soreness, it is important not to pick up the dog or put any pressure on the back for 2‐4 days after the injections.
Heartworms can also cause nosebleeds, pneumonia, high blood pressure, seizures, blindness, and excessive sleeping.
Venturing outside the house, including to fenced-in yard, must be on a leash. One quick burst of speed chasing a squirrel or stray cat could bring on an embolic complication. For most heartworm-treatment patients the activity restriction period is only 2-3 months long.
n The majority of dogs clear all heartworms with the standard treatment, but treatment is not always 100 percent effective. The label reads 90-99 percent effective; this is due to variation in each individual animal.
What to expect after heartworm treatment. Once your dog has finished his heartworm treatment, you should expect him to be bedridden for a while. “Only slow, low-impact walks are allowed for the first five to six months after diagnosis,” Dr. Marteney told The Dodo.
Dogs with heartworm disease can live high-quality lives as long as they are given appropriate care. After completing treatment and following your veterinarian's recommenda- tions on heartworm disease testing and prevention, the chances of any long-term effects are very low.
Heartworm preventatives can cause serious side effects in some dogs, including depression, lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea, dilation of the pupil, loss of balance, staggering, convulsions, and hy-persalivation.
Is heartworm painful? - Animal Hospital of Statesville. It's not painful, per se, but they feel sick, uncomfortable, and they're likely having difficulty breathing. They're not perfusing very well, so they don't feel well.
But your dog's normal physical activities must be restricted as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed, because physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs. The more severe the symptoms, the less activity your dog should have.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.
Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.