Protect Your Pets With Heartworm Prevention
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Heartworm is a serious disease, but preventable disease. If left untreated, hearworm can be very costly and difficult to cure once it’s in the advanced stages. Keep yourself educated and read more about how to protect your pets with heartworm prevention below.
What is it?
Heartworms are a parasite that embed themselves into a pet’s heart. The larvae can live out its life cycle inside it’s host while mating and creating more worms. While pets living in warm, moist environments have a bigger chance of contracting the parasite, any pet in the US could potentially contract the heartworm. Both dogs and cats are susceptible to heartworm. These worms may be passed to people as well.
What causes it?
Heartworm is contracted through mosquito bites. A mosquito bites an infected dog and then transfers the parasite larvae to other dogs. Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. Per the American Heartworm Society, “Multiple variables, from climate variations to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause rates of infections to vary dramatically from year to year—even within communities. And because infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.” Heartworm preventatives are encouraged whether you live in Washington or Florida.
What are the signs?
Signs of heartworm include a nagging cough, a loss of appetite, weight loss and a decrease in energy.
What happens if left untreated?
The heartworm parasite lives in the blood vessels surrounding the pet’s heart and can cause heart failure. Heartworm can be very costly to treat and can affect your pet’s health long after treatment if allowed to advance.
How can I prevent it? Test your pet annually for heartworm (more often if preventative isn’t regularly administered) and keep them on a monthly preventative. This medication prevents heartworm disease along with some of the most common gastrointestinal parasites including roundworms and hookworms. Ask your vet about options today.
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