April 1st was the kick off for Heartworm Awareness Month in the veterinary world, and we are here to educate and inform y’all about this gruesome disease.
“Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.”
Dogs. The dog is a natural host for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.
Cats. Heartworm disease in cats is very different from heartworm disease in dogs. The cat is an atypical host for heartworms, and most worms in cats do not survive to the adult stage. Cats with adult heartworms typically have just one to three worms, and many cats affected by heartworms have no adult worms. While this means heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats, it’s important to understand that even immature worms cause real damage in the form of a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm infections in dogs cannot be used in cats, so prevention is the only means of protecting cats from the effects of heartworm disease.
Signs of heartworm disease in dogs may include:
- mild, persistent cough
- reluctant to exercise
- fatigue after moderate activity
- decreased appetite, and weight loss
As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse. This is called caval syndrome, and is marked by a sudden onset of labored breathing, pale gums, and dark bloody or coffee-colored urine. Without prompt surgical removal of the heartworm blockage, few dogs survive.
You could buy NINE YEARS of Heartworm prevention for what it costs to treat your pet one time for heartworm disease.
The best way to protect your pets from Heartworm Disease is with proper prevention. Our favorite mode of prevention is Heartgard beef flavored chews. Rarely do we come across a dog that doesn’t like the Heartgard chews which makes giving your pet their monthly dose easy and convenient! A bonus of using Heartgard brand produts is if your pet contracts Heartworm Disease while on their product, they will cover the cost of treatment! The only contingency is that you have to buy the product FROM A LICENSED VETERINARIAN’S OFFICE. Heartgard that is sold anywhere besides a vet clinic is not guaranteed by the company, and this is why we do not approve prescription requests from any online vendors.
Come in today to buy a full years supply of Heartworm prevention and receive a discount, AND get entered into our raffle to win a barbecue!!!