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Exploring the Importance of Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a terrifying illness that unfortunately affects over 1 million pets in the United States. As caring pet owners, it’s important to do everything in our power to keep our pets safe and healthy. This includes regular vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, and heartworm prevention. As April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, it’s the best time to look into heartworm prevention for your pet, and to learn about the details of this disease. 

How Pets Develop Heartworms 

Heartworms take residence in infected mosquitos who work to spread these parasitic creatures by biting other animals and transmitting the heartworm larvae into the subjected animals bloodstream. Once the larvae enter your pet’s blood, they begin to travel toward the heart and lungs where they begin to grow and reproduce. 

Signs Your Pet Has Heartworms 

Heartworms may not cause a difference in behavior or display symptoms until your pet is in the advanced stages of heartworm disease. However, there are several common signs to look out for. In dogs, heartworms may cause the following: 

– Persistent coughing 

– Lethargy and resistance to exercise 

– Resistance to eating and weight loss 

While heartworms are less common in cats, cats can still be infected by heartworm. When a cat has heartworms, they may show signs, such as: 

– Mild coughing 

– Extreme fatigue 

– Vomiting and weight loss 

When you notice these symptoms in your pet, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced veterinarian immediately. Without medical intervention, heartworms can lead to severe health risks, including organ failure and death. 

Heartworm Prevention Medication 

Heartworm prevention is a vital component of your pets health. Your local veterinarian may offer an array of heartworm medications, including chewable tablets, topical treatments, or monthly injections to help combat the occurrence of your pet developing heartworms. Furthermore, it’s important to have your pet tested for heartworms annually to ensure that if they contract these parasitic creatures, they can be treated before the situation becomes more advanced and more dangerous. 

Contact your trusted veterinarian today to schedule an appointment to get your pet on the most effective heartworm medication!