Heartworm disease is a serious, deadly disease wherever mosquitoes are present. Thousands of dogs and cats each year become permanently debilitated or die from lung, heart or circulatory problems caused by heartworms. Your dog can have heartworms for several months before symptoms are obvious. By then the disease may be difficult or impossible to treat successfully.
Symptoms: A dog or cat becomes infested with heartworms via the bite of an infested mosquito. In the Cleveland area, anywhere from 6-25 heartworm positive cases are reported per clinic per year. This means heartworms are in our mosquitoes at even greater numbers, so they're a real threat to your pet. An infected dog becomes less active and tires easily. Coughing, weight loss, chronic fatigue and fainting may appear in advanced disease stages. Adult heartworms are found in the heart, lungs and major blood vessels. Secondary liver and kidney disease may result. Heartworms can grow from 5 to 14 inches long. In advanced cases, a hundred or more worms have been found in a single heart.
Prevention: A simple blood test is required before starting your pet on effective, easy-to-use preventive medication. A life threatening reaction can occur if this medication is administered to an infected pet. Annual testing is recommended even in year-round use of the medication. Make sure your pet is tested and protected. DON’T GAMBLE WITH YOUR PET’S LIFE!!
Diagnosis is usually through a simple blood test that detects heartworm antigen. When a heartworm positive dog is detected, other tests including bloodwork and X-rays are the next steps to staging the disease.
Treatment: Successful treatment depends on early detection, and close veterinary supervision. If permanent damage has occurred, prognosis is very poor.
We now know that cats can get heartworm disease as well. All cats are at risk for heartworm disease no matter where they live, indoor or outdoor.
- Heartworm disease has been found in every state of the U.S. except Alaska.
- This means the mosquitoes in every state are potentially carrying heartworm disease that can be transmitted to your cat
- Signs of heartworm disease include coughing, vomiting, not eating, and respiratory disease
- The disease can be fatal
- Once a cat is infected with heartworms, there are currently NO safe treatments for cats.
- Cats do not need to be tested unless they are showing signs of heartworm disease.
The best method of dealing with heartworm disease is prevention! There are several products available to prevent heartworms, all of which require a prescription. We recommend and use Revolution every month, year round.