Heartworm caused the death of many loved pets before veterinarians had an effective medication to prevent this disease. Heartworm in today’s world is 100% preventable. However, pet owners must be willing to give this preventative medication to their pets regularly and correctly.
Some owners don’t realize how Heartworms hurt their beloved pets. Here are some ways that our dogs and cats are affected by Heartworms.
Dogs – Heartworms live in the heart and larger blood vessels that are found around the heart and lungs. These worms damage tissues and cause heart failure and pulmonary disease. In many cases, the worms begin to obstruct other large vessels. When these other large vessels become infested with worms this can cause liver and kidney disease and can even be fatal.
Cats – these worms are found in the heart, lungs and pulmonary arteries of our feline friends. Cats are less susceptible than dogs to Heartworms but their body’s reaction to Heartworms can be much more intense than in dogs. Feline patients become severely ill and can even die with just one or two worms in their systems. Please do intense research on the prevention of feline Heartworms if you are a cat owner.
Heartworm is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that is carrying the heartworm larvae. This Heartworm larva is microscopic and not seen by the naked eye. The way a mosquito becomes a carrier is by biting an animal that is already infected with Heartworms. So if you believe living in a cool place or a certain area makes your pets less susceptible to heartworm you are very wrong. Heartworm’s can infect animals that live anywhere or travel anywhere that mosquito’s live.
Here are the easy steps to help keep your dog from becoming infected by Heartworms.
Tests – A simple blood test for Heartworms can detect whether or not the dog has been infected or exposed to the Heartworm infection. Additional tests that may be needed to determine the extent of Heartworm infection are radiography and ultrasound.
Prevention- if the test comes back clean of infection and contact start the dog on preventative medication. There are several forms of medication that can be taken to prevent Heartworms. Some of the medications also control roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Your veterinarian will recommend that your dog be treated monthly and year round along with a test once every year to make sure they are Heartworm free. I personally prefer Revolution for my pets as it is a once a month treatment for Heartworms, fleas, mosquito’s, hookworms, roundworms and with cats it covers ear mites.
Signs of heartworms in dogs – Deep chest cough, labored breathing, fatigue, weight loss, stomach distension and bloating.
Signs of heartworms in cats – Coughing and gagging, vomiting, labored breathing, weight loss, sudden death.
Remember there may be no signs of Heartworm in your pet and this is why testing is important to all pet owners.