The Dangers of Heartworms

April is Heartworm Awareness Month! We know, heartworms aren’t the most pleasant thing to discuss. However, making sure that your dog is protected from these horrible worms is very important! An Upper Arlington, OH vet discusses heartworms and heartworm prevention below.

Basics

Heartworms are very dangerous to Man’s Best Friend! As you may have guessed from the name, these horrible parasites infest dogs’ hearts, as well as their lungs and arteries. While infestations are painless and asymptomatic at first, the worms can cause very dangerous medical issues as they grow. Adult worms can interfere with Fido’s respiration and circulation. This is why, when left untreated, heartworms are often fatal.

Transmission

Fido won’t pick up heartworms directly from his canine buddies. Instead, mosquitos carry heartworm larvae from dog to dog. Since mosquitos are pretty much everywhere, this means that dogs can contract heartworms anywhere they are present. Your furry friend could even get heartworms inside your home or yard!

Signs of Infestations

One of the earliest signs of heartworm infestations is coughing. As the infestation progresses, your pet may become fatigued easily, and lose his breath after even mild excursion. Coughing up blood and trembling, and weight loss can also be a sign of heartworms. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these symptoms.

Treating Fido

Heartworm infestations can be treated, but the treatment is much more involved than simply giving Fido a shot or a pill. Treatment can be intense for dogs, and it can also get expensive. Your canine pal may need to stay in a kennel during treatment, to make sure he doesn’t overexert himself. In some cases, surgery may also be required.

Prevention

As you can see, it’s much, much easier to protect your dog from these horrible worms than it is to treat him for an infestation. Be sure to keep up with Fido’s parasite control regimen! There are different options available, such as topical drops and oral medications. Just keep in mind that your pup may need to be tested before starting a new parasite-control regime. This is because heartworm prevention products won’t kill live worms. It’s also worth noting that it takes about 5 months for heartworms to get big enough to be detectable on tests. Ask your vet for more information.

Does your pet need parasite control products? Call us, your Upper Arlington, OH pet clinic, today!