Heartworm disease affects animals all across the nation, and as a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to understand the disease and what you can do to help your pet. Your local veterinarians at Animal Medical and Surgical Clinic of Wisconsin Rapids has shared what to know about heartworms, so you have at least a basic understanding of this potentially fatal disease and your responsibility regarding it.
Heartworms in Dogs
Dogs are at an increased danger for heartworms because they are a natural host, meaning the worms inside of dogs can grow into adults and reproduce. A population of untreated worms can grow to several hundred in a dog, resulting in permanent damage to the heart, arteries, and lungs. Dogs become infected through mosquitos, which transfer baby heartworms from an infected animal to an uninfected one.
Symptoms may develop after some time, including weight loss, fatigue, a decreased appetite, or a cough. Even without showing symptoms, your dog should be tested annually for heartworm during a routine visit at your pet clinic. Speak with your local veterinarians about prevention and treatment medications, as these can be effective.
Heartworms in Cats
Cats get heartworm disease but are an atypical host, meaning most of the worms won’t survive to maturity and there likely won’t be more than three in your cat at a time. However, they can still cause severe damage to your pet’s health through heartworm associated respiratory disease.
Prevention is very important because heartworms in a cat cannot be treated. Some common symptoms are coughing, vomiting, weight loss, a decreased appetite, seizures, or even sudden death. Cats typically don’t get regular testing as dogs do, but your vet may recommend testing prior to starting preventive treatment and additional testing from time to time.
The best way to protect your furry friend from heartworm disease is to talk with your local veterinarians about prevention, medications, and testing. The professional team at Animal Medical and Surgical Clinic offer animal medicine and pet care to keep your animal happy and healthy. Give them a call at (715) 421-2006 to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.