Heartworm disease in dogs is caused by parasitic works that make their home inside the pulmonary arteries of your pet’s heart. In some cases, the right side of a dog’s heart is also affected by these parasites. When a dog is infected with heartworm disease, they become very ill. In many cases, a diagnosis of heartworm disease could be a fatal one. We do have methods of treating heartworm disease, but unfortunately, they can sometimes serve to only bring about more health complications.
Heartworm disease can occur in cats, but it is far more common in dogs. Because of the seriousness of heartworm disease, it’s vital that you protect your pet from the parasites that cause this condition in any way you can. The good news is that there are some things you can do to be proactive and keep your dog parasite free.
It’s recommended that everyone talk to their veterinarian about setting up a preventative plan for their dog to help them avoid contracting heart disease. In most cases, we will recommend a preventative medication that your pet will take either monthly or daily. Typically, these preventative medications come in the form of a chewable tablet that is easy to administer to your dog. It should be noted that if your pet already has heartworms, these medications will not be effective. If there is a chance that your dog might have already contracted the parasites, then we will run tests prior to prescribing any medication.
Heartworm medication work by targeting the larvae of the heartworm parasite before they have an opportunity to fully mature. Unfortunately, heartworm medications cannot do anything to kill off adult worms. Once your pet’s heart has been infested with adult worms, our options for treatment is limited. That’s why it’s so important to get on, and stay on, a preventative care regimen. Even if your pet is on a preventative plan, it’s a good idea to have him/her tested for heartworms during their annual physical exam. Testing for heartworms involves a simple blood test.
Mosquitos are to blame for transmitting heartworms in pets. When your pet gets bit by an infected mosquito, heartworm larva find their way into his/her bloodstream where they will eventually mature into adult worms if your pet has been left untreated. To help decrease your pet’s chance of contracting heartworms, you will want to do what you can to make sure they are not exposed to mosquitos. Make sure that door and screens are shut tight during times of the year when mosquitos are more common. If your pet will be spending time outdoors, consider spraying them with a pet-friendly repellant to keep them from getting bit.
Heartworm disease can be fatal for your dog, however, as we’ve seen, there are things you can do to protect your pet from these awful parasites. Remember, prevention is going to be key to protecting your pet from parasitic heartworms. If your pet isn’t already on a heartworm prevention regimen, contact our office today to schedule an appointment. Together we can help protect your pet from falling prey to this terrible disease.