Signs Your Dog Might Have Heartworms
Pets become infected with heartworms when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae. The larvae travel through the pet’s bloodstream to the heart where they live, grow, mature, and reproduce. While cats can become infected with heartworms, they are not natural hosts. Heartworm disease is much more serious and severe in dogs who are natural hosts for heartworm parasites.
What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is the name for the physical symptoms and damage caused by heartworm parasites when they have infected an animal.
Signs and Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Early on, heartworm disease often has no signs or symptoms or only very mild ones. The symptoms of heartworm disease vary, growing more severe as the case becomes more advanced.
There is no cure for heartworm disease in cats. Dogs infected with heartworms can be surgically treated to remove the parasites, but this treatment is invasive and often unreliable. As a result, heartworm disease in dogs and cats is often fatal, and the need for preventative treatments are essential to protecting your pet’s health.
How to Prevent Your Pet From Getting Heartworms
You can protect your pet from heartworms by minimizing your pet’s exposure to mosquitos. However, the best way to prevent your pet from contracting these parasites is with a heartworm preventative medication.
Heartworm preventatives are only available by prescription from your veterinarian because dogs must first be screened for heartworms before receiving a preventative. Administering a heartworm preventative to a dog that’s already infected can be fatal.
Heartworm Prevention With Our San Diego Veterinarians
At Pacific Pet Hospital, we take parasite prevention seriously. We recommend annual heartworm screening for dogs and year-round protection. When it comes to heartworm prevention, there are a variety of medications available, and our veterinarians can help you determine the one that’s best for your dog and your lifestyle.
To learn more about heartworm disease and parasite prevention or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact us today.