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Heartworm kills – update on the stray Keeshond

August 10, 2009
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keeshond_memphisFor readers of the blog who have been following the story of the abandoned Keeshond in Memphis, some sad new.  As you know, a foster home was found for the dog. Before being released, the dog was given a complete examination by the veterinarian.    There were two significant findings:  1) She is a He.  The dog was found to be an intact male.  Apparently the heavily matted fur had made the first check of the dog difficult.  2) The dog has heartworm.

Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. The heartworm is a type of filaria, a small thread-like worm. The definitive host is the dog but it can also infect cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes and other animals, such as ferrets, sea lions and even, under very rare circumstances, humans.[1] The parasite is commonly called “heartworm” because the adult reproductive stage of its life cycle resides primarily in the right ventricle of its host where it can live for many years (ref: wikipedia).       

Usually the adult worms are killed with an arsenic-based compound.  After treatment, the dog must rest (restricted exercise) for several weeks so as to give its body sufficient time to absorb the dead worms without ill effect. Otherwise, when the dog is under exertion, dead worms may break loose and travel to the lungs, potentially causing respiratory failure and death (ref: wikipedia).

The dog, who was given the name River, was to begin treatment this week.  He was brought to his new foster home this weekend.  He was very tired when he arrived and spent most of the day sleeping.  Ariel, his foster-mom, went to check on him Sunday morning.  River had passed away in his sleep during the night.

Heartworm can be easily prevented.  Prophylactic medications are highly effective and when regularly administered will protect more than 99 percent of dogs and cats from heartworm.  This is definitely a situation where “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 12:47 pm

    Heartworm prevention is just so important, and certainly a lot easier than trying to treat a dog that is already infected!

    I like Heartgard for dogs, and feel that it has a history of being very reliable etc.

  2. August 31, 2009 3:33 am

    We must protect the dog,because the dog are friends that we trusted the most. I enjoyed reading your blog,thanks for visiting my blog also Dog Directory

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