When it comes to heartworm and flea prevention, Shorewood pet owners know they can come to our animal hospital for help. We want to take the time to discuss some information that all pet owners should know, specifically about what heartworms are, the signs your pet has them and what you can do to prevent them.
What are Heartworms?
Heartworms are worms that grow to be about a foot long, and they can live in a pet’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. While we usually treat dogs and cats with this problem, heartworms can also live in many other animals, like ferrets, foxes and wolves, just to name a few. If heartworms are left untreated, they will continue to breed within the infected animal and cause serious health issues and, eventually, death.
Mosquitoes are often the culprit when it comes to transmitting heartworms. The mosquitoes will bite an infected animal. Within the animal’s blood are the baby heartworms. The mosquitoes will then bite other animals and transmit these worms into the other animal’s bloodstream.
What are Some Signs that My Pet is Infected?
If your pet displays any of these symptoms, you need to bring him or her to our veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are many different ways we can help with heartworm and flea prevention, so you might not ever have to worry that your pet has this issue.
During the early stages of infection, your dog might not show any symptoms. But as the heartworms mature and spread, you might notice a persistent cough, a reluctance to exercise, fatigue, a decrease in appetite and weight loss. If the heartworm problem is really bad, your dog will have pale gums, trouble breathing and/or bloody or dark-colored urine.
For cats, they will experience some of the same symptoms: coughing, vomiting, weight loss and a lack of appetite. However, some cats will not exhibit any symptoms until it’s too late.
What Can I Do to Prevent Heartworms?
Like we mentioned before, there are methods of heartworm and flea prevention available today that do not require frequent trips to the vet or even a lot of money. Your dog should be tested for them on a yearly basis and your cat should also be tested for them regularly as well. There are monthly pills that you can give your dog to help with prevention too.
If you would like more information on heartworm and flea prevention in Shorewood or the surrounding areas, call Excelsior Animal Hospital at 952-474-1106, or you can contact us to Schedule an Appointment.