Heartworm Medicine: Understanding the Types, Benefits, and Side Effects

Heartworm Medicine

The first heartworm case was recorded more than 100 years ago. Today, heartworm is considered a worldwide clinical problem. Although heartworm is a 100% preventable disease, more than 250,000 dogs are treated for heartworm infections each year. Fortunately, the disease can be treated effectively with a number of different types of heartworm medicine that are readily available through your vet. Just a few of the different types of heartworm medicine include: adulticide, melarsamine, thiacetarsamide, and ivermectin. Adulticide is a drug that is used to kill adult heartworms in dogs. This heartworm medicine is administered through a series of treatments/injections. The treatments can be administered on an outpatient basis, but in some cases, hospitalization is recommended. Melarsomine and thiacetarsamide are also used to kill adult worms in dogs, but they have several unpleasant side effects. These include: diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, and loss of appetite. Ivermectin is a preventative heartworm medicine that is used to kill immature worms. It comes in liquid or tablet form and dosage size is determined by the dog’s weight. If you do not give your dog the proper dosage (overdose), this can cause loss of coordination, trouble breathing, and dilated pupils. Symptoms of heartworm in dogs include a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after moderate exercise, reduced appetite, and weight loss. It is important to note that recently infected dogs may show no signs of the disease. Symptoms may not show up until the later stages of the disease. If you suspect that your dog has heartworm, do not try to treat the condition on your own. Contact your vet immediately.