Heartworms are life-threatening parasites that may infect your pet. They can affect cats and dogs but are more commonly seen in dogs. Due to the severity of heartworm disease our hospital encourages regular testing for dogs so the illness can be treated early.
What is heartworm disease in pets?
Heartworm disease is contracted through mosquito bites. Female mosquitoes carry larvae in their gut for up to 30 days then pass them on to dogs. The larvae enter the bloodstream and move to the heart and blood vessels where they mature to adults. They reproduce and create more offspring, heartworms can grow up to a foot-long. Adult heartworms can live up to five years.
How can I tell if my pet has heartworms?
Pets seldom show signs of heartworms until the disease is advanced. The signs you see are sometimes mild but, if left undiagnosed and untreated, could be deadly. Here are some signs to look out for:
At the sight of any of these symptoms have a veterinarian examine your loyal companion. To schedule an appointment for your pet call 506.455.1700.
How are heartworms diagnosed in my pet?
Heartworms are diagnosed through blood testing. We collect a sample of blood from your pet and examine it for the presence of heartworm proteins. Our team will also run tests to check the heart, chest, kidney and liver as these organs are usually affected by heartworms.
What is the best way to protect my pet from heartworms?
To protect your pet from heartworms they need to be on preventative treatment from a young age. Along with the medication, they need to be tested regularly as missed or late doses can leave them susceptible to the disease. Preventative treatments are in the form of tablets and topical treatments.