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Protecting Your Pet From Heartworm

April 01, 2022

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. These disgusting worms can pose a very serious threat to our furry pals. In fact, untreated infestations are often fatal. A local Pasadena, MD vet offers some advice on keeping your pet safe in this article.

Preventative Products

Parasite control is truly your most important weapon in this battle. These days, there are many different options to choose from, such as oral medications and shots. Talk to your vet to determine which is best for you and your dog. If Fido’s parasite control has lapsed, he’ll need to be tested before you can get him started again. The products that prevent infestations do not kill live worms, so your pet would need to be treated right away.

Testing

Even if you diligently keep up with your canine buddy’s parasite control, you’ll need to get him tested regularly. Though it’s rare, there have been some accounts of breakthrough cases. One possibility for this is that Fido may become more vulnerable as his preventative care wears off, when it’s time for his next dose. There’s also an issue of resistance: over time, some worms may be developing an immunity to these products.

Understanding Transmission

Did you know that heartworms are only transmitted by mosquitoes? There are actually 30 different types of mosquitoes that are onboard with this. The reason this is important to know is because your canine pal can get infested anywhere, even in his own doggy bed! Anywhere you may find both dogs and mosquitoes—such as dog parks—is a potential hot spot.

Symptoms

Usually coughing is the first sign of a heartworm infestation. Fido may also lose his breath very fast. As the worm load increases, he’ll begin to tire out rapidly, and may not want to walk, run, or play. Other warning signs include reduced appetite, bulging ribs, lethargy, depression, and weight loss. Call your vet immediately if you notice any of these red flags.

Don’t Forget Fluffy

Did you know that our feline pals can also get heartworms? Fluffy’s body isn’t as hospitable to them as Fido’s, so it’s rare for a kitty to have more than a few heartworms. However, even a single worm can cause serious—and potentially fatal—organ damage to a kitty. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you need to get heartworm medication for your pet? Contact us, your Pasadena, MD animal clinic, today!


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Glen Burnie, MD 21061
410-766-1500

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