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Heartworm Awareness

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? These disgusting parasites are very dangerous, and can even be deadly! A Cameron Park, CA vet discusses heartworms in this article.

Basics

As you may have guessed from their name, heartworms are parasitic worms that can infest dogs’ hearts. They can also inhabit Fido’s lungs and arteries. Heartworms are not transmitted directly from dog to dog. Instead, they have enlisted the mosquito to transmit infected blood from one pooch to another. The worms are always in larval form when a dog first contracts them. At first, you won’t notice any symptoms in your pet. However, as the worms grow, they will begin to interfere with Fido’s vital organs. Left untreated, heartworm infestations are extremely dangerous, and can even be fatal.

Symptoms

Coughing is one of the earliest signs of heartworm infestations. Other symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, trembling, and weight loss. Contact your vet immediately if you see any of these red flags in your canine pal. The sooner an issue is caught and treated, the better!

Treatment

While there are treatment options available for heartworms, they can be expensive, and are not easy on our canine friends. Your furry pal may need to take some very strong medications. Fido might need to be kenneled during treatment. This is to restrict his movements, as overexertion during the course of treatment can be very dangerous. Surgery may also be required in some cases. Needless to say, it’s much easier to prevent infestations than it is to treat them!

Prevention

Now for the good news: it’s very easy to protect your pet from heartworms. Just be sure to administer your furry buddy’s parasite control products on time. If Fido hasn’t been on heartworm prevention in a while, he will need to be tested first. This is because the medication that prevents live infestations will not kill live worms. Ask your vet for specific recommendation on parasite control.

Cats

Our feline pals can also contract heartworms, though infestations are more common in dogs. It’s rare to see adult worms in kitties. However, infestations can still cause serious health issues with cats. Be sure to keep up with Fluffy’s parasite control!

Do you have questions about your pet’s parasite control program? Please contact us, your Cameron Park, CA pet clinic, for all your furry friend’s veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!

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