If left unaddressed, heartworm disease can be lethal. The good news is that heartworm disease is easily preventable. At Stanton Pet Hospital, we have been providing residents of Stanton, CA with reliable heartworm prevention services for many years. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of heartworm disease, how it is transmitted, and how our veterinarian can protect your pet against heartworms.
The Heartworm Lifecycle
According to the CDC, female heartworms live in and around the heart of an infected animal. Instead of laying eggs, they give birth to live young called microfilaria. Microfilaria swims up to the blood vessels under the skin. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes who bite infected animals before transferring the larvae into the bloodstream of an uninfected animal. Heartworms can live up to five years and typically kill their hosts if medical intervention does not occur.
Heartworm Disease Symptoms
Symptoms develop slowly, giving the heartworms time to grow. The first symptom is a low, dry cough. As the disease progresses and heartworm blocks the heart, the pet loses energy, may faint and will have trouble breathing. The abdomen and limbs may swell from fluid accumulation. The pet may start coughing up blood and lose weight. Eventually, the worms stop the heart where they grow to full size.
If You Have Mosquitoes, Your Pet Is at Risk
Heartworm disease occurs in pets all across North America because of the presence of mosquitoes. In many parts of the United States, mosquitoes appear almost all year long due to mild winters. When giving heartworm prevention medication, it’s important to administer it year-round. It takes about six months for microfilaria to grow into adults, so heartworm medication can kill any microfilaria that survives at the end of the mosquito season.
The easiest way to prevent heartworms is to give your pet heartworm prevention medication. This is usually in the form of a chewable tablet taken once per month. Many flea and tick prevention medications also kill mosquitos when they bite your pet. It’s good to get a yearly blood test to check for heartworms from your veterinarian.
Treating adult heartworms is far more difficult than treating microfilaria. First, a blood test is needed to be sure the pet’s problems are from heartworms and not another heart problem. X-rays of the chest may need to be done to locate the worms. The pet needs a series of injections of melarsomine, followed by a month of rest. After this month has passed, two more injections will be administered one day apart. The pet will also need antibiotics. Heartworm treatment is expensive, time-consuming, and is not guaranteed to be successful. This is why our veterinarian recommends a preventative approach to heartworm disease.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Veterinarian in Stanton, CA for Heartworm Treatment
Call Stanton Pet Hospital today at(714) 828-5891 for more information on heartworm prevention or to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.