April is National Heartworm Awareness Month which is a very common disease in pets. It is becoming more and more fatal to our furry friends and is affecting both cats and dogs. The name basically explains itself; as it is a long worm that lives in your pets heart, lungs and blood vessels. This worm does a lot of damage, causing pets to have heart failure at an early age and it is even powerful enough to damage other organs that help our pet survive and stay healthy.
Heartworm is a very dangerous and affecting disease but there are ways to prevent your pet from suffering from it and for you, the pet owner, to stay aware of how your pet can get this awful disease. Spring is the prime time to get it so pet owners, listen up:
Mosquitos are one thing almost everyone cannot stand, but there, unfortunately, is no way to stop this awful insect from insanely reproducing. The Spring is the primary time they are out and about, but it is important to know that these mosquitoes carry the disease. Heartworm starts off in a wild animal, such as a raccoon or a coyote, and then when a mosquito bites that animal, they become a carrier of it and are extremely infective to whatever it bites next. The microfilaria, which the mosquito becomes responsible for carrying then enters into another animal’s bloodstream, which could be your pet.
Dogs are more likely to catch heartworm than cats are. When the disease is left untreated, your pet will have a cough, be extremely tired, won’t be eating as much, and they will eventually lose a lot of weight. Your pet’s body becomes the worms and their offspring’s home, which just deteriorates your pet and causes them to be very sick. It is crucial that if you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, to bring them in to get checked out. It is dangerous to let them go untreated.
The only way to see if your pet has heartworm is to get a blood test done. It is important to make visits to your vet and get a blood test done every so often to make sure your pet is healthy and happy. This way, if they do catch this awful disease early enough, they can care for it sooner than later, which prevents the damage from getting worse.
Since over one million pets are diagnosed a year with heartworm, they have now made treating your pet with this disease very simple. Vets offer monthly heartworm medicine which works very well and also protects against other things such as parasites and fleas. Pet owners can purchase heartworm prevention monthly, or every year; whatever they are comfortable with.
As always, our primary message is that we are open to talking with you about any questions or concerns you might have about your pet’s health and well-being. Heartworm is a major disease that you must take seriously. Contact Oceanside Vet Clinic to talk to us about which heart prevention medicine works best for you and your pet!