Montgomery, Ohio
12121 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45249
(513) 683-2300

An Introduction to Heartworm Disease in Pets October 23, 2020

Montgomery, Montgomery
An Introduction to Heartworm Disease in Pets, Montgomery, Ohio

A key part of being a responsible pet owner is being aware of common health conditions. Heartworm disease is particularly dangerous since it can have serious and potentially fatal effects. It’s crucial to be mindful of changes to your pet’s health so that you can bring them to a veterinarian promptly. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Heartworm?

Heartworm disease develops when a parasitic worm is spread to the infected animal through a mosquito bite. Once the worm finds a host, it matures and eventually produces offspring inside the host’s body. Male heartworms can grow up to 6 inches, and females have the potential to grow up to a foot long.

Over time, the number of worms inside the infected animal grows. This is known as its “burden.” While most animals will have an average of 15 heartworms, the number can reach as high as 250. Both cats and dogs are vulnerable, but the former is unlikely to suffer the way that dogs do.

What Are the Symptoms?

veterinarianSymptoms depend largely on the burden your pet carries and how long the problem has been present. There are four classes of heartworm disease, and in its earliest stages, there are usually no symptoms at all.

By the second class, your pet may cough sometimes or experience occasional bouts of fatigue. The third class produces far more significant symptoms, including frequent coughing, exhaustion, and difficulty breathing.

Class 4 occurs when the worm burden is so great that it prevents blood flow to the heart. This is a potentially fatal problem that requires a veterinarian’s emergency assistance, which may include anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and several weeks of strict rest without any physical exercise. 

How Is It Prevented?

While it’s crucial to visit the veterinarian for annual testing to catch the disease before it reaches an advanced stage, it’s equally important to prioritize prevention. Your pet’s provider will prescribe a preventive medication, which is either administered orally, injected by a professional, or applied to the skin. These treatments are formulated to kill off the parasite during its earliest stage, preventing it from maturing and reproducing in the body.


Your pet deserves only the best quality of care. That’s why so many throughout Cincinnati, OH, trust in the veterinarians at TLC Pet Care Centers. Proudly serving the Tri-State community, they offer reliable animal care and pet wellness services. Whether your fur baby requires dental assistance, surgery, heartworm treatment, or a general examination, they’ll be in the best possible hands. Visit the website for more information on their services. Call (513) 825-4011 to schedule an appointment at the West location or (513) 683-2300 to see a professional at the East location.

Other Announcements, Events and Deals from TLC Pet Care Centers
4 Common Questions After Cat Surgery, Montgomery, Ohio
After your cat receives surgical care at a vet clinic, you’ll need to monitor their recovery. Your vet will provide guidelines, though you may still have questions. Here more
What to Expect At Your Puppy's First Vet Appointment, Montgomery, Ohio
Your puppy’s first vet visit is an important milestone that sets the foundation for a long, happy life. If this is your first puppy, you might not know what to expect at the vet more
3 Ways to Alleviate Pet Boarding Stress for Your Dog, Montgomery, Ohio
If you plan to leave your home for a vacation or work trip, you can trust their well-being to a pet boarding facility. Even when you know your dog will receive the more
3 Important Dental Care Tips for Dogs, Montgomery, Ohio
Though their diets are usually much stricter than that of humans, dogs can develop dental problems, too. Unfortunately, many pet owners neglect their companions’ teeth more