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Heartworm Prevention in the Winter

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm Prevention | Dr. Charles Whitworth | Madison, ALHeartworm disease is a very serious condition that affects dogs, cats, and other mammals. This sometimes-fatal condition is caused by parasitic worms inside of the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart. Numerous species of roundworms can cause heartworm disease, including filarids. Vital organs in the animal’s body are harmed while the worms are traveling through the bloodstream. Heartworm disease mainly occurs when an animal comes in contact with an infected mosquito. This is primarily the reason why many people believe their beloved pets are safe during the cold winter months. The truth is that heartworm can affect animals all year round, which is why heartworm prevention is important.

When an animal has heartworm, they will usually display many symptoms that include coughing, vomiting, weight loss, and labored breathing. They also might be very listless and not move around a lot. In the very early stages of the disease, the animal may not experience any symptoms other than a slight cough. During this stage, it is very hard to detect because the animal will usually appear to be happy and healthy. The second stage of the disease is when the symptoms start to pop up and become noticeable. This is when pet owners start to really notice that something is wrong. Stage three and four is when the symptoms are more severe, such as coughing up blood. By stage four of the disease, there is a chance the animal will have long-term implications to their health. If a pet owner notices that their animal is acting differently, they should take them to the vet as soon as possible for an examination.

Heartworm is easily preventable, even in the winter or the summer months. Madison, Alabama residents can take their pets to Whitworth Animal Clinic to get their pet checked out. A veterinarian will prescribe pills that are effective at preventing heartworm disease. The pills are administered monthly, and should be given to the animal all year long. Many pet owners just give their pets the heartworm medication during the summer months, but the American Heartworm Society recommends that pet owners give the medicine to their pets every month.

Heartworm prevention is absolutely essential to making sure your pet does not get this sometimes-fatal disease. Heartworm is treatable in most cases with a series of injections into the muscle of the animal. It is much safer and easier for a pet owner to take the extra steps to prevent heartworm, even in the winter months.