K., You need to consult with a veterinarian. They will give you treatment options and may very well not be heartworm but kennel cough etc> here is some info: If caught soon enough its treatable on heartworm and so is kennel cough.
HEARTWORM TREATMENT - DOGS
The bottom line: Heartworm is a significant disease in dogs and cats. The treatment involves managing the heart, vascular and systemic disease present as well as eliminating the parasites. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the worms one way or another so the animal’s body can rebuild itself and return to the best possible post-infection health. This sounds simple but it can be very complicated depending upon the number of worms present, the dog’s reaction to their presence, the patient’s general state of health, handling the side effects from the medication and the effects on the patient of the dead worms within the circulatory system.
By now, it is clear that the treatment varies from dog to dog. Each animal’s personal condition is evaluated and the treatment protocol tailored to best effect a full recovery with the least side effects. Therefore, this discussion of heartworm treatment will be very general regarding the medications used and the more common side effects. The specific treatment protocol for your pet will be left up to your veterinarian since there is no way to predict how each animal will react to Heartworm treatment.
Treatment involves two basic areas:
1st) Patient evaluation and stabilizing for treatment procedure.
2nd) Elimination of all forms (adult, larvae, and microfilaria) of the Heartworm parasite.
Patient evaluation and stabilization
This involves X-rays, blood tests, heart evaluation, and any other tests indicated to completely evaluate the pet. The veterinarian evaluates the over-all health of the animal, then determines how to best proceed with treatment. Part of this evaluation is staging the severity of the Heartworm Disease in the dog. Some animals need to have certain conditions stabilized before Heartworm treatment can proceed. Those in third stage Heartworm disease may require deliberation to decide if it is best to try surgical removal of some worms through the jugular vein before any other steps of parasite elimination are considered.
Elimination of the Heartworm Parasite
This is a two-step process. The adult worms and the microfilaria are eliminated separately. No one medication kills both. The adults are treated first then a different treatment is used to kill the microfilaria and migrating larvae.
The most serious side effects usually occur with the treatment of the adult worms. As the worms die they lodge in the lung arteries and block even more blood vessels than before treatment. Besides the usual inflammation caused by the presence of the worms, the inflammation is amplified due to the decomposing worms within the blood vessels. This worm destruction releases foreign substances in to the dog’s circulation as the worms break down and are eliminated from the dog by the immune systems. A large amount of inflammation and swelling generally occurs during this period.
Before treatment begins, it is very important to ask your veterinarian any questions you may have about the treatment and what to expect. Some veterinarians will keep the dogs in the hospital during treatments to watch them closely. Your Doctor will make the decisions on an individual basis regarding what would be best for your dog.
The prescription medications used to treat the adult Heartworms are called adulticides. The two adulticides used most commonly are derivatives of arsenic. It is not known exactly how these medications work to kill the worms. We just know they do work.
NOTE: New medications may be available at any time; this listing of treatments may not be complete!
The first one is thiacetarsamide (Caparsolate). It has been used for at least half a century and is effective but can be toxic to the liver, kidneys, or cause severe irritation if the solution gets outside of the vein. The second medication is called Melarsomine dihydrochloride (Immiticide). With fewer side effects than thiacetarsamide, it is also an arsenic derivative and is administered by a careful intramuscular injection. It appears to be as effective and possibly more so in dogs than thiacetarsamide. It has potential for significant side effects and close veterinary monitoring is very important.
Side effects from the medication can be immediate or take up to 2 weeks to appear. One aspect of the side effects are due to the destruction of the adult worms and the resulting blood vessel blockage and inflammation. No matter what adulticide is used, it is very important to keep your dog very quiet and follow all of your Doctor’s instructions. If you have any doubt about what to do or what is going on, do not hesitate to call your veterinarian ASAP.
As the inflammation peaks after adulticide treatment at 5-10 days, sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are used. The veterinarian will determine at the time what to use after evaluating the severity of the reaction. Some anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the effectiveness of the adulticide. Therefore it is a judgment call regarding what is best for the pet’s health at the time.
Some patients even require a second set of adulticide treatments since the very immature L5 Heartworms and young female adults are more resistant to the treatment.
After the adulticide treatment and its side effects are resolved (usually at about 1 month post treatment), the microfilaria are then eliminated with one or another of two common Heartworm preventatives, Ivermectin (HeartGard) or Mibemycin oxime (Interceptor). This will be done approximately one month after the adulticide treatment, depending on your veterinarian’s final decision regarding when it can be done.
Approximately four months after adulticide therapy, the dogs are retested for the presence of Heartworm. This will determine if a second treatment will be needed.
Once the Heartworm is eliminated from the dog, then preventative medication is continued as prescribed by your veterinarian. Each dog’s response to Heartworm treatment is different so the information presented here in ThePetCenter.com is a general guide to help you understand the basics of Heartworm eradication. Your veterinarian will communicate more of the specific information as it relates to your pet’s particular circumstances and your pet’s probable response to treatment. Our goal is to help you better understand that the process is involved, the medication alone can be toxic, and every animal reacts differently.
HEARTWORM PREVENTION IN THE DOG
Preventing Heartworm Disease is definitely easier on the dog and is now much simpler than it used to be. The most common preventatives are given once a month by the pet’s caretaker. Preventatives kill the immature Heartworm larvae before they molt to the L5 stage. As long as they are given every month, they are very effective in preventing Heartworm infection and subsequent development of Heartworm Disease.