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Heartworm Awareness And Prevention: What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know

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As a pet owner, you want to do everything in your power to ensure the health and well-being of your furry friend. One issue that can often go unnoticed until it's too late is heartworm disease. Heartworms are a type of parasite that can cause serious harm to your pet's heart, lungs, and other organs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent heartworm disease and keep your pet healthy. 

Transmission

Heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes pick up microfilariae, immature heartworms, from infected animals and transmit them to other animals through their bites. Once inside the new host, the microfilariae mature into adult heartworms over several months.

Heartworm in Dogs

In dogs, the symptoms of heartworm disease can include: 

  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing. 

As the disease progresses, dogs may develop a swollen belly and fluid accumulation in their lungs. In severe cases, heartworm disease can lead to heart failure and death.

Prevention and Treatment of Heartworm in Dogs

Prevention is the best way to protect your dogs from heartworm disease. Several preventative medications are available, including monthly pills and topical treatments, as well as injectable options that can protect your pet for up to six months at a time.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best prevention method for your pet. They may also recommend a heartworm test before starting prevention medication to ensure your pet is not infected.

If your pet tests positive for heartworm disease, treatment can be successful but is often expensive and risky for your pet's health. Treatment involves a series of injections to kill adult heartworms and requires strict confinement and limited exercise during recovery.

Heartworm in Cats

Cats are less commonly affected by heartworm disease than dogs, but it can still be serious and potentially fatal. Cats may exhibit symptoms such as: 

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing and gagging
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and weight loss

Prevention And Treatment of Heartworm in Cats

Unfortunately, heartworm medication used to treat dogs is not suitable for cats. Therefore, prevention is the only way to safeguard cats from heartworm disease. Understanding that prevention is the most effective approach to protect your cat from this potentially fatal disease is critical. Hence, ensure that your cat is regularly checked by a veterinarian and prescribed an appropriate preventative medicine to reduce the risk of heartworm disease.

Take Action Today to Protect Your Pet From Heartworm Disease

Prevention is key when it comes to heartworm, as treatment can be difficult and expensive, and in some cases, it may not be successful. It is recommended that all dogs and cats be tested for heartworm annually and put on preventative medication year-round.

Symptoms of heartworm can be mild at first, but as the disease progresses, they can become more severe and even life-threatening. These symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, and a swollen belly.

In addition to preventative medication, pet owners can reduce their pet's exposure to mosquitoes by using mosquito repellent products, eliminating standing water around their home, and keeping their pet indoors during peak mosquito activity. Regular testing is also recommended for all dogs and cats, even those already on heartworm-preventative medication. This testing can detect heartworm infections in their early stages when most treatable.

Expert Veterinary Care At Town & Country Veterinary Hospital - Trust Us For Heartworm Prevention and Treatment

Our team provides your pet with top-notch care and guidance toward a healthy and happy lifestyle. Our veterinary experts will provide your furry companion with the best possible heartworm prevention and treatment options. You can trust us to go above and beyond to keep your beloved pet protected. Give your furry friend the gift of a long and healthy life by giving us a call or booking an appointment through our website.

 

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