As the weather warms up, many insects such as mosquitoes begin to be a nuisance to you, but to your pets, they're a carrier for heartworms. With each bite, an infected mosquito will pass on larvae to your pet, which will then mature and reproduce. The heartworms live inside your pet and cause major health issues for them. Although mosquitoes are prevalent, there are effective ways to protect your beloved pet from heartworms.
Are the symptoms for heartworms the same in all pets?
Not necessarily. Dogs are naturally better hosts for heartworms so their symptoms can range from mild to severe. The longer your pet has been infected, the more worms they'll have. Dogs will experience a dry, persistent cough, swollen abdomen, loss of appetite, fatigue, rapid weight loss, seizures, and even heart failure. Heartworm disease in cats can often be confused as a respiratory issue. Cat symptoms will be more subtle and will include weight loss, vomiting, coughing, and breathing problems resembling asthma.
How often should my pet be tested for heartworms?
Our veterinarians recommend annual testing for all patients. However, pets who are in high-risk areas will need more regular testing. Pets living in wooded areas may need to be tested bi-annually. To discuss heartworm testing for your pet, please call us at 519-285-2116.
Can heartworms be prevented?
Yes, you can prevent heartworms in your pet by giving them preventative treatments. Preventatives can be topical creams, injections or tablets that are available to cats and dogs. It is better to protect your pet from becoming infected as treatment can be lengthy and expensive for dogs. If they test positive for heartworms, we provide medication in the form of injections. There is no treatment for cats, our veterinarians will simply provide medication to control their symptoms.