Heartworm disease is a deadly disease caused by a long, thin parasitic worm that lives in the cardiovascular system of infected cats and dogs. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite a dog or cat with Heartworm disease and then passes it on to another dog or cat. The tiny worms in the infected dog or cat will develop into a parasite exceeding a foot in length. Heartworm disease affects the cardiovascular system including the lungs, arteries of the lungs, and the heart. Signs of Heartworm disease in dogs and cats include tiring, coughing, weight loss, and heart failure.
The disease is found in most parts of the United States, especially in locations that have warmer climates like those in the south, along the coastlines, and Hawaii where mosquitoes are common. Heartworm disease can be determined by a blood test and treated with a once-monthly prescription tablet. Preventative medicines are available only through your veterinarian, and it is recommended by the American Heartworm Society (AHS) to take a year-round preventative in Heartworm states. It is also strongly advised that if you travel with your pet to a Heartworm state that you get tested for Heartworm upon returning to your home state.
- Roughly a million dogs in the United States have Heartworm disease.
- It only takes a single bite from an infected mosquito to transmit the disease to a pet.
- Heartworms can live up to 5-7 years in dogs and 2-3 years in cats if left untreated.
- Heartworm season is year-round, which is why it is important to protect your pet with a monthly preventative.
- Dogs and cats should be screened for Heartworm every 12 months.
- Treatment can cost more than 15 times thatofa year’s worth of Heartworm preventative medicine.
- Heartworm prevention is much less expensive than treatment and can easily be prescribed by your local veterinarian.
Source – Heartworm Disease Facts and Information can be found at Pet Place and American Heartworm Society.
Make an appointment today with your veterinarian to protect your dog or cat from Heartworm disease.