April is Heartworm Awareness Month. As you may know, heartworms are dangerous parasites that infest our canine pals’ hearts and lungs. These nasty parasites can be extremely dangerous. Left untreated, infestations are often fatal. A Norwalk, CA vet discusses heartworms below.
How Heartworms Spread
Heartworms are actually transmitted indirectly, through mosquitos. Since misquotes are unfortunately all over North America, that means gets can get heartworms anywhere, even in their own beds. The worms are microscopic larvae when they are transmitted. It takes them about six months to grow to their adult size once they are in their new host. At that point, they start causing serious problems.
In many cases, coughing is the first sign of heartworm infestations. Other red flags are lethargy, weight loss, reduced appetite, and lack of interest in play. Fido may get tired out quickly, and he may not want to walk very far. Severe infestations can also have more serious signs, such as fainting, seizures, and, unfortunately, even death.
Although heartworms are more prevalent in canids, such as dogs, foxes, and coyotes, they can and do infest cats as well. The difference is that they don’t thrive in cats’ bodies the way they do in dogs. Most worms in cats will die before they reach their adult size and start multiplying. However, they are still very dangerous for kitties. They can cause permanent damage to cats’ organs, and can even be fatal. Keep up with your cat’s parasite control!
There are heartworm treatments available. However, they can be expensive. They can also be rough on Fido. Dogs often need to have their activity limited during treatment, to avoid putting too much strain on their hearts. Fido may even need to be kenneled, which won’t be very much fun for him. Severe cases may require surgery.
As the old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That definitely applies here! All you have to do to protect your furry pal from these disgusting parasites is keep up with their parasite control. It’s worth noting that the medicine that prevents infestations won’t kill live worms. If your furry friend hasn’t been on parasite control, they’ll need to be tested before starting. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you need to get your pet on heartworm prevention? Contact us, your Norwalk, CA vet clinic, today!