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Posted on 10-03-2018
Each year as the weather starts to warm, many beloved pets are infected with heartworm disease. Pet owners need to learn about this potentially deadly condition in order to protect their pets. Here's what Watertown Animal Hospital, PC wants all pet owners to know about heartworm treatment and prevention.
Heartworm disease is a serious health condition caused by the heartworm parasite, Dirofilaria immitis. Mosquitos spread the parasite's larvae to animals. When mature, heartworms can measure up to a foot long. They damage the internal organs of their hosts, including the lungs, heart, and blood vessels. If left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal.
Early on, many animals don't show signs of heartworm infection. Later symptoms of heartworm can include:
If you suspect your pet may have heartworm, it's important for them to receive veterinary care as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will test your pet for heartworm.
If a dog tests positive, they will most often receive several injections of a heartworm medicine. The American Heartworm Society recommends testing heartworm-positive dogs six months after treatment to ensure the parasite is gone.
Cats test positive for heartworm less frequently than dogs. Unfortunately, the heartworm treatment used for dogs does not work for cats. Most often, cats are just monitored carefully by their veterinarian. In some cases, heartworm in cats can clear up on its own.
It's much easier (and less costly) to protect your pet from heartworm than it is to treat the disease. As a bonus, many heartworm preventatives also provide flea and tick prevention. The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention for all pets. Prevention options include:
Don't let your pet get heartworm this year! Start a heartworm prevention program right away. To make an appointment at Watertown Animal Hospital, call us today at (860) 274-2212. New patients receive 15% off their first visit with our Watertown veterinarian.
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