Heartworm is a serious condition affecting cats and dogs, though they are more commonly found in dogs. The condition causes heart and lung disease and is caused by mosquitos injecting microscopic larvae into the animals skin when they bite. Once the infection is inside of the body it matures and mates, releasing microfilaria. These microfilaria, offspring of the larvae, make their way to the heart and other organs of the body. Heartworms can grow to be about nine to 11 inches long and can live in a dog for 5 to 7 years and in a cat for 2 to 3 years.
Heartworm is a very serious condition. Just one or two inside of your animal’s body can cause grave danger. It is possible to prevent the disease with the help of medications offered at your veterinary hospital. Should your pet develop heartworm there are also treatments, however there is a risk of not treating the disease quickly enough, even if you go to a veterinary hospital as soon as you suspect the problem.
Additionally, the emergency treatments can cause various health problems for your pet. Obviously it is in your best interest (and that of your pet’s health) to visit the veterinary hospital and provide your pet with protection before the condition becomes a big problem. Heartworm is best treated in the early stages, so regular visits to the veterinary hospital should help determine if your pet is being affected by the disease.
Signs of Heartworm
Pets can have heartworm for more than a year without experiencing any symptoms at all. Even when the heartworm symptoms do begin to appear, they are not very obvious to a pet owner. Difficulty breathing is one sign of heartworm, with increased trouble during exercise. As time progresses, the pet becomes weak and tired, unable to perform normal daily activities.
Prevent Instead of Treat
As mentioned, it is best to prevent heartworm rather than worry about trying to treat it later on down the line. With the numerous over the counter heartworm treatments, as well as those available from the vet at the veterinary hospital, you can ensure that your pet leads a long, healthy life free of this debilitating condition. You will also save money in the long run, because you’ll make a lot less vet trips with preventative care, and your pet will have a lot more brighter days. Isn’t your pet worth it?