Home > Shop By Condition > Heart Disease > Heartworms In Dogs

Long Term Treatment For Heartworm In Dogs

There is a misconception that heartworms are only a problem for pets in a few states. While heartworms are most prevalent in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast states, the infected mosquitoes carrying the heartworm larvae can travel quite far. Now, heartworm infections have been identified throughout the US. Preventative care is the best way to approach heartworms.

Heartworms are foot-long parasitic worms that look like strands of spaghetti. Heartworm larvae (microfilia) are spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected cat or dog, their blood contains the larvae. The mosquito spreads the parasite by biting another cat or dog. The larvae mature into worms that circulate in the bloodstream of infected pets and live in the heart and lungs. They can damage and destroy the heart and lung tissue. Heartworms can live for up to 3 years in cats and almost 7 years in dogs. Heartworm disease affects cats and dogs differently.

  • Dogs - Heartworms can complete their life cycle inside of dogs. Dogs can have hundreds of worms inside their bodies. Early symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs may include persistent coughing, lethargy and fatigue. As the infection progresses, many dogs will experience a loss of appetite and weight loss. Heartworms can migrate to the brain and affect mobility and cognition. A high number of worms can cause a swollen abdomen or block blood flow and cause heart failure.

    A veterinarian can administer a series of injections to treat heartworms. In some cases, surgical removal may be necessary. Many times, heartworms can cause lasting damage to the heart and lungs. Using natural heart supplements during and after treatment can support your dog's heart and immune system.

  • Cats - Most heartworms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Heartworms in other life stages also present a risk for cats. They can still damage the heart and lungs. Signs of heartworm disease in cats may include coughing, labored breathing, vomiting, lack of appetite and weight loss. Cats may develop heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD). Prevention is the only protection for cats, as the medications used for dogs cannot be used in cats.

Most dogs have an advanced case of heartworms by the time they are diagnosed. Veterinarians generally treat with a series of injectable antiparasitic medications along with a course of antibiotics. The injections are spread out over a few months. During treatment, dogs need to rest and restrict exercise. This is because physical activity and an increased heart rate can allow heartworms to damage the heart and lung tissue. This dog heartworm treatment protocol has a success rate of over 90%. While medications treat the dog’s immediate symptoms, natural supplements can strengthen their heart and immune system for long-term support.

Natural Supplements For Heartworms

Coenzyme Q10 for dogs

Purrfect Pet CoQ10

The antioxidant, energy-promoting, and cardioprotective properties of CoQ10 make it an effective adjunctive therapy for dogs with heartworm disease. Coenzyme Q10 has antioxidant properties that help counteract the oxidative stress and tissue damage caused by heartworm infection. CoQ10 is involved in cellular energy metabolism, where it helps generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy for cells. Heartworm infection can place a significant metabolic burden on the heart, leading to energy depletion and dysfunction. By enhancing cellular energy production, CoQ10 supports the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently and improves exercise tolerance in dogs affected by heartworm disease. CoQ10 has cardioprotective effects, helping to maintain normal heart function and structure. Purrfect Pet CoQ10 is made with genuine Kaneka Ubiquinol for maximum benefit and highest absorption. Pure, safe & natural. Made in the USA.

Learn more about Purrfect Pet CoQ10

Resveratrol For Dogs

Resveratrol For Dogs

Resveratrol possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help fight the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by heartworm infection. Resveratrol may help reduce tissue damage caused by heartworms and aid in the healing process. Resveratrol has also been shown to support cardiovascular health by promoting vasodilation and improving blood flow. This can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with heartworm disease, such as exercise intolerance and respiratory distress. Resveratrol's antioxidant properties may protect against further damage to the heart and blood vessels, potentially reducing the risk of complications from heartworm infection.

Learn more about Resveratrol For Dogs
fish oil for cats

PureOcean Wild Omegas

Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help modulate the inflammatory responses associated with heartworm infection. By reducing inflammation, fish oil may help alleviate some of the symptoms and tissue damage caused by heartworms, particularly in the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fatty acids support cardiovascular health by promoting normal heart function and circulation. In dogs with heartworm disease, where the heart may be under increased strain, supplementation with fish oil can help maintain optimal heart function, increase blood flow and improve cardiac output. PureOcean Wild Omegas are made from wild-caught sardines, anchovies & mackerel. They have a natural fishy flavor and many pets love the taste.

Learn more about PureOcean Wild Omegas

Olive Leaf For Dogs

Olive Leaf Extract For Pets

Olive leaf extract has natural antimicrobial activity. While heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm, holistic practitioners suggest that olive leaf's antimicrobial properties can support the immune system in fighting off secondary infections or complications associated with heartworm infestation. Olive leaf extract is rich in antioxidants, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, which have anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects. By reducing inflammation and oxidative damage, olive leaf may help reduce damage to the heart and blood vessels. Olive leaf has vasodilatory properties that help relax and widen blood vessels to improve circulation. In dogs with heartworm disease, where blood flow may be compromised due to worm infestation and inflammation, enhanced circulation can help reduce cardiovascular symptoms and improve cardiac function.

Learn more about Olive Leaf Extract For Pets

Article published Mar 19, 2024
Written by: Susan Davis, Pet Health Nutritionist, CCN
All pet treatment protocols and pet treatment supplements have been reviewed and approved by a veterinarian