Have You Noticed Changes In Your Dog’s Behavior After Heartworm Treatment?

Data showing that there are some typical behavioral changes in dogs who have recently been treated for heartworm using the drug Immiticide has been collated by the American Heartworm Association (AHS). These changes are due to the treatment which can cause severe pain, inflammation and nausea.

Every dog is different, just like every person recovering from an operation or an illness, they all react differently so there is no way to predict just how your dog will be affected. However, it is certainly true that the pain and discomfort associated with the Immiticide treatment can often cause dogs to appear sluggish and lethargic.

For the first few days after treatment, the dog may not want to do anything at all – this may be a blessing in disguise because it is so important to ensure that your pet does not do anything at all to increase the heart rate whilst the Immiticide is doing its job of killing the adult heartworms. However, it is never easy to see your normally lively and energetic dog looking sad and listless and even worse when they do not want to eat or drink either.

Although most Vets send owners home with an aftercare sheet showing them how to manage their pet’s care and letting them know what to expect, because as mentioned earlier, every dog is different, many owners report that their dog appears restless and unable to settle in those first few days. As the drug used, gets broken down in the body, your dog will slowly begin to feel better and start to eat again once he is no longer feeling nauseous.

Whilst not eating for a day or two is not a major issue, it is very important that you encourage your dog to drink because serious damage to internal organs can be caused through dehydration. Do speak to your Vet if you are concerned at all about this aspect of your pet’s aftercare.

Destructive Behavior

The restlessness mentioned, can translate into destructive behaviour such as chewing furnishings and other objects such as shoes. However, thankfully, once your dog is feeling better this destructive behaviour soon disappears. If the restlessness manifests in pacing around, unable to settle at all, it may be necessary to use a crate for your dog to ensure that he is kept as quiet as possible. If your pet is not used to being in a crate or cage, you may want to try to introduce this prior to treatment for heartworm if at all possible. If not, try to put some of his favorite toys, blankets and so on into the crate with him. You could also put in a jumper or similar item of clothing that you have worn so that he can be comforted and reassured by the familiar smell.

The worst will be over within around five days when the Immiticide will have done its job of eliminating the worms. Because the dead worms get broken into pieces and expelled out of the heart in the bloodstream, your dog could develop a cough at this time as the pieces of dead worm travel toward the lungs. Other typical symptoms are panting or labored breathing but if your dog seems distressed or you are in any way concerned, keep your dog very quiet and consult your vet.

Your Vet will have arranged a follow-up appointment with you and when this comes around, usually your dog will be allowed a little more exercise and hopefully, behavior will return to normal once your dog is allowed to exercise as normal once again.

Author Alison Graham invites you to visit her website http://heartwormtreatment-fordogs.com for more details on heartworm treatment aftercare and the recent worries for pet owners caused by the Immiticide shortage in the USA and the problems this has caused for dogs waiting for treatment.

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