Tampa Bay is notorious for our tropical weather which means BUGS! One of the most dangerous bugs to your pet is the pesky mosquito. Mosquitos carry another plaguing pest, the heartworm. Don’t let the “heart” fool you these worms lack any love. Heartworm is a serious disease, worms can live in the heart, lungs, and the associated blood vessels causing heart failure, lung disease, and damage to other organ systems long term. An infected mosquito transmits heartworm larvae through their bite. The larvae migrate through the body reaching the heart and blood vessels of the lungs.
What are the signs of heartworm disease in dogs?
- Weight Loss
- Rapid Breathing
Symptoms may not appear until the worm reaches maturity, usually at 6 months after infected.
What happens if my pet is heartworm positive?
It is very important to consult with our Tampa Bay veterinarian at River Mill Animal Hospital about proper heartworm treatment for your pet. Every pet is different; therefore, once diagnosed our veterinarian will customize a program for your pet. This will include radiographs and a full chemistry panel to access the stage and evaluate the severity of the heartworms.
Can I prevent heartworm disease?
Great news, heartworm disease is completely preventable! Monthly preventions are safe, reliable, and a highly effective way to protect your pet when given properly. Missed monthly doses can leave pets susceptible to infection. These preventions kill the larvae before they’re able to complete their life cycle into adult worms. A simple blood test is required before starting monthly prevention. It is extremely dangerous for your pet to start prevention if they are already infected with heartworms. This test is performed as a part of the annual physical and a vital way to stay ahead of heartworm disease.
According to the American Heartworm Society, it is estimated that more than one million dogs currently have heartworm disease. Don’t let your canine companion become a statistic! Let’s take a stand against these pesky pests and protect our pets today! If your pet is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact River Mill Animal Hospital immediately or if you have questions regarding heartworm disease and prevention. Remember every new patient receives a thorough complementary exam!! Call to schedule today!!!