What is Heart Worm and is there a treatment?
A mosquito bite may be more harmful to your dog or cat than you realize. Mosquitoes can carry a very harmful parasitic worm called heartworm, which has become an important pet heart health care issue due to its prevalence in all fifty U. S. states and worldwide.
Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal condition that is becoming more common. When a dog or cat is infected, the parasitic worms live and grow in the arteries and lungs, and occasionally in the right side of the heart. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection.
• Dry chronic cough
• Low Energy Levels
• Reluctance to move or exercise
• Weight Loss
• Blood Tests. After about seven months after infection, heartworms can be detected using blood antigen tests. These tests are relatively simple and can be done by your vet. The results usually only take about 15 minutes.
• If your dog or cat’s blood tests come back positive for heartworms, your vet may order an ultrasound or an x-ray images of the heart and lungs to determine the severity of the infection.
Heartworm disease is preventable. Talk with your vet about a heartworm prevention plan which should include yearly heartworm testing. Also note, this disease is not contagious.
Heartworms live in vital organs, which puts your dog or cat at serious risk if left untreated. Heartworms weaken the heart and can dislodge and go anywhere in the system, especially if your pet over exerts (breeding, racing etc). Quickly killing heartworms can also be dangerous for your pet because dead worms can clog small blood vessels and cause organs to fail.