Although they have the word “heart” in their name, heartworms are certainly not lovable creatures. Once they choose your furry friend as their host, heartworms live and reproduce in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of your pet. They cause severe and often irreparable damage to your pet’s internal organs. Once heartworm makes its way into your pet, up to 250 can live inside just one patient! The good thing is that with proper and consistent medications, you can easily protect your pet from heartworm. Please feel free to reach out to us to learn more about heartworm testing and other services offered here at AMC.
How do pets get heartworm?
Your pet can get heartworm by being bitten by an infected mosquito. And all it takes is just one bite! After the bite, the eggs or pupae of heartworm enter inside your pet. Then, they can begin to grow into adult heartworms that mate and produce offspring- all while inside your pet! It can be spread to other animals in your home if the first infected pet is bitten by a mosquito, and that mosquito bites another animal.
What are the symptoms of heartworm?
The most alarming thing about heartworm is that during the early stages of infestation, or if your pet has a low heartworm count, there is little to no obvious signs. This is what makes regular checkups and heartworm testing absolutely essential. That being said, as the infestation progresses, some things you should watch out for are: weight loss, swollen belly, low energy, laboured breathing and coughing.
What are the treatment options for heartworm?
Before thinking about treating heartworm, you should consider the importance of preventing your pet from getting it in the first place! But, in the unfortunate event that your pet gets heartworm, there are many therapies available and your veterinarian may prescribe one or a combination of them depending on your pet’s unique case. For example, the heartworms can be manually removed through surgery, or chemically via injections and oral medications.