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Heartworm Prevention

photo of Jack Russell Terrior in grass | Dr. WhitworthDid you know that mosquitoes can be deadly insects to people and animals alike? Mosquitos are known to carry many diseases all throughout the country and when bitten, people and animals can be affected. With the warm summer nights just ahead it is important to think about the precautions you should take, not only for yourself, but your furry pal as well. One of the most common diseases that your animal can contract is heartworms.

What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a blood borne parasite known as Dirofilaria Immitis. This parasite lurks inside mosquitos and can be transmitted to your pet from a simple mosquito bite causing your furry friend to contract a disease known as worms. These worms are round in shape, grow to be twelve inches in length and make their home in your pet’s lungs, heart and blood vessels. When infected with the worms, your pet can develop heart failure, lung disease and damage to various other organs in their body.

Is Every Animal Considered A Victim to the Mosquito Carrying the Infection?

Heartworm disease is most common to be found in dogs, cats and ferrets, but there have been some cases found to be present in other animals as well. Animals that spend a lot of time outdoors or live in warmer climates have a greater chance of contracting heartworms if not treated for prevention annually.

What Are the Signs That a Pet Has Contracted the Heartworm Disease?

Symptoms may vary from animal to animal. Dogs and cats may react differently, however, the most common symptoms found in both species may be a cough, an appetite reduction followed by weight loss. The disease can become fatal if not properly cared for, but can be prevented from ever happening with proper care and routine treatments.

What is the Routine Prevention and Treatment of the Disease?

The vet will check your pet for heartworm disease during his annual exam. Just like routine vaccinations, a preventative medication can be prescribed to protect your pet against the threat of this potentially fatal disease. In most cases, when an animal is tested positive for heartworms, he can be successfully treated with medication.

If you are like most people, your pet is a part of your family and you want to do everything you can to keep him safe and healthy. Remember that it is important to keep your furry friend current on all his vaccinations and treatments for potential diseases. If you have any questions, the friendly and helpful staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic would be happy to assist you. If you live in Madison or surrounding areas in north Alabama, and you would like to schedule an appointment, contact Whitworth Animal Clinic for all your veterinarian needs.