April is National Heartworm Awareness Month which makes it the perfect time to share vital information about the parasite and ways pet owners can help prevent it. Keep reading as we help you understand what this disease is and how it’s caused, as well as ways to keep your pets happy and healthy for years to come.
Heartworm disease is parasites that are spread by mosquitoes and can cause serious harm to your pets. These “worms” live in the heart and lungs causing severe lung disease and potential heart failure. Heartworms can affect dogs and cats, but dogs are the primary carriers of the parasite.
To spot the symptoms of heartworm in your pets, pet owners should be on the lookout for these warning signs:
· Mild cough
· Fatigue after normal activities
· Decrease in appetite
As the disease progresses, more serious symptoms can present themselves and will need immediate attention:
· Heart failure
· Swollen abdomen
· Sudden heavy breathing
· Pale gums
· Dark urine
If you suspect your pet has heartworm, you should bring them into your vet’s office as soon as possible. The sooner they are found, the sooner treatment can start. The test requires a small blood sample from your pet. If heartworm is found, your vet will begin the treatment plan.
Testing your pets for heartworm should happen every year, but you should also help keep your pets safe throughout the year with preventative medicine. The American Heartworm Society and many veterinarians recommend year-round preventative care. Certain medicines can also help prevent other parasites like tapeworms and fleas.
Detection and prevention are at the cornerstone of heartworm safety. Next time you’re at your vet, make sure you ask them about heartworm medications available. Don’t forget to come see us in the month of April to receive 10% off heartworm testing and preventative meds. Schedule your appointment online today!