Heartworm is a severe condition that all pet owners should understand. Heartworm damages the lungs, heart, and other vital organs, affecting the well-being and health of your pet. It's your duty, therefore, to keep your furry friend heartworm-free. You can do that by regularly visiting your vet and familiarizing yourself with what heartworm entails.
Prevention and treatment methods are available, as scary as heartworm may appear. Georgetown Animal Hospital has prepared some of these methods for you. Yet, before we get into the prevention and treatment of heartworm, let's first learn what heartworm entails.
What Is a Heartworm?
Heartworms are blood-borne parasites. Heartworm is a foot-long parasite found within your pet's circulatory system. They reproduce quickly and can live close to five years. To that end, your vet can find more than three hundred worms during diagnosis!
How Do Pets Get Heartworms?
Despite mosquitoes causing enough problems to humans, they also cause heartworm in pets. Mosquitoes bite and suck blood from whatever is in the vicinity. So if it bites the blood of an animal infected with heartworm, then bites your pet, it transfers the microfilaria to your pet.
Symptoms of Heartworm
The only proper way to know your pet has heartworm is through a blood test. However, as the disease progresses, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Reluctance to exercise or move
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Mild and persistent cough
- Fatigue after a moderate activity or exercise
- Signs of congestive heart failure
Heartworm Prevention and Treatment
Preventative pet care is always the best bet for your animal. It's always good to prevent heartworm because the results can be deadly. The thought of worms living inside your pet's heart is scary because of the damage they can cause. However, heartworm prevention is cheap and straightforward. Your vet can recommend various medications available on the market to keep your pet free from heartworm.
Our veterinarian will advise on the best treatment if your pet has been diagnosed with heartworm. The treatment will begin by killing adult heartworms. Next, an injectable drug will be given to kill the heartworms in the heart and those in the adjacent vessels. Since the drugs are given in series, your vet will devise a schedule. An antibiotic is also given to prevent any potential bacterial infection.
Complete rest is critical after treatment. Your pet is not allowed to exercise for at least one month after the final injection. After taking the drugs that kill adult heartworms, your pet will receive medication that kills microfilariae, the heartworm larvae.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Veterinarian in Georgetown, OH
Preventative pet treatment is always the best bet. The cost of preventing heartworms is cheaper than treating them. Our animal clinic provides the best preventive pet care services.
Book an appointment with us at Georgetown Animal Hospital if you live in Georgetown, OH, and its surroundings by calling (937) 378-6334. Heartworm is a severe and devastating disease, so you should take proper measures to ensure your pet lives a healthy and happy life.