The best defense against heartworms is prevention!
Heartworm testing is included Free with Junior and Senior Wellness Bloodwork.
The Important Facts
Heartworm disease is a serious disease that affects dogs and cats (and other animals). Luckily this disease is preventable. And the prevention is EASY. Most “pet parents” wouldn't knowingly put their pets at risk of becoming infected with this potentially deadly disease, yet millions of pet owners fail to protect their animal from the heartworm infection.
What Are heartworms?
Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) is a parasite that is transmitted by a mosquito. Heartworm can cause a life-threatening infection in your pet. Heartworm infection has been diagnosed in dogs and cats all over the world and in all 50 states.
I Don't Think We have mosquitoes around here, so why should I worry?
You may think that your pet doesn’t need to be on heartworm prevention because it rarely goes outside (or never goes outside) and you never see mosquitoes. Why should you bother to give medication once a month? Mosquitoes are hard to see. Ever go to sleep and wake up with mosquito bites? They are sneaky little guys.
Why should I give heartworm medication year-Round?
Year-round heartworm prevention is recommended for several reasons.
- It is easier to remember to give the medication on a certain day each month.
- The medication often treats other things such as gastrointestinal parasites.
- Sometimes we have unpredictable weather and the mosquitoes come out at different times of the year than we expect.
- It is easy to prevent heartworm, but more costly and riskier to treat.
- If your pet travels, there may be mosquitoes at the vacation spots.
Clinical Signs of Heartworm disease
Dogs infected with heartworm disease can have various symptoms including lethargy, exercise intolerance, cough, weight loss, decreased appetite, or even have no clinical signs. As the worms build up in the pulmonary arteries, there are changes to the walls of the arteries and the heart has to work harder against the increased pressures that the worms cause. Eventually, left untreated, this could lead to congestive heart failure and death.
How do I know if my pet has heartworm?
Testing can be done separately or done for free as part of the Junior/Senior Wellness Bloodwork and is based on a simple blood test. The American Heartworm Society recommends yearly testing for heartworm even if the pet is on preventative year-round. This is because no drug can be 100% effective, sometimes we forget a dose, sometimes our pets don’t eat the medication or they may spit it out. Additionally, if they throw up within 8 hours of taking the dose, they won't be protected until the next treatment.
If heartworm disease is suspected, your pet may also need radiographs of his chest, urinalysis, and possibly an ultrasound of his heart.
Heartworm: Difficult Treatment
In dogs that are infected with heartworm, the treatment depends on the severity of the infection. Treatment is usually very difficult on the pet and expensive; thus, prevention is highly recommended.
Talk to us about the appropriate preventative actions for your pet.