April is Hear tworm Prevention Month! We know, heartworms aren’t the most pleasant blog topic. We much prefer talking about Fido’s adorable puppy antics or Fluffy’s silly quirks. However, heartworms are extremely dangerous to our furry friends. It’s important to know what they do, and how to keep your pet safe. A Valley Center, KS vet offers some tips on this below.
Heartworms, as the name suggests, are parasitic worms that infest dogs’ hearts, as well as their lungs and arteries. The worms are spread by mosquitoes. Though they are transmitted in larval form, it doesn’t take long for them to grow. They reach their adult size within about 6 months. At this point, they start to reproduce. Left untreated, infestations can make Fido very sick and, unfortunately, are often fatal.
It’s worth noting that heartworms usually die before becoming fully grown in cats. Therefore, it’s uncommon to see more than one or two adult worms in a kitty. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous to Fluffy. Even a single worm can cause permanent and potentially fatal medical issues for your feline friend!
Heartworm infestations are typically asymptomatic at first. As the worms grow, they’ll start to take a toll on Fido physically. You may notice your pup coughing a lot. Other warning signs include fatigue, exercise intolerance, respiratory issues, and lethargy. Fido may not want to run or play, and he may sleep more than usual. More severe infestations can cause fainting, comas, heart attacks and, unfortunately, death.
There are treatments available for heartworms in dogs. However, they can be quite expensive, and they aren’t easy on poor Fido. Your canine companion may need his activities curtailed, as the medication that kills the worms is very taxing. Surgery may be required for more severe infestations.
There is some good news. All you need to do to protect your pet is keep up with their preventative care. Your vet can recommend specific products and schedules. Regular testing is also very important. If your furry friend hasn’t been tested recently, he’ll need to be checked before starting parasite prevention. This is because the products that prevent infestations won’t kill live worms. Ask your vet for more information.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your Valley Center, KS veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!