Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm Prevention & Treatment

Why Heartworm Treatment Is Important

One of the most common medical problems pets can suffer from is heartworm. If you live in Ranson and you are worried about your pet, you can always come to the Apple Tree Animal Clinic. We care for sick pets and will answer any questions you have about heartworm treatment. 

What Is Heartworm Disease?

A disease that can afflict pets at any age, heartworm has the potential to be deadly. The disease surfaces when a worm measuring one foot in length enters your pet’s bloodstream, heart, and lungs. It has a different effect on dogs than on cats and is more often seen in dogs. Gone untreated heartworms can multiply within your dog’s body. In addition to affecting their heart and lungs, it can also affect their arteries. 

While dogs have the potential for hundreds of heartworms in their body, in the case of cats, the number drops to no more than three. Due to the significantly lower numbers, it is more difficult to detect them in cats than in dogs. Though heartworms often mature to adulthood in dogs, in cats they rarely make it past childhood. If your cat has heartworms it may cause them to suffer from a respiratory disease. 

Signs And Symptoms Of Heartworm Disease

Cats are more likely to show symptoms of heartworms than dogs are. A cat that has them will suffer from weight loss, vomiting, coughing, and even the feline version of an asthma attack. A cat’s abdomen may become filled with fluid if they have heartworms. In other cases, they may even find it difficult to walk. When it comes to dogs, signs of the disease are a recurring cough, weight loss, and fatigue after being physically active. In more advanced cases, their belly may become swollen and they may even suffer from heart failure. 

What To Expect During A Heartworm Appointment

When your pet has an appointment to test for heartworms, the first step is to take a blood sample. The blood sample is then used to test for the presence of Antigens and Microfilaria. In dogs, X-rays may be performed after a heartworm diagnosis. The purpose of the X-rays is to determine whether the disease has spread internally. In most cases, antibiotics are then prescribed to dogs found to have heartworms. The antibiotics must be used for 30 days. This allows the medicine to kill off the bacteria in your dog’s body. Without bacteria, heartworms are not able to live. 

In the case of cats, most veterinarians will tell you to keep your pet on medicine to prevent heartworms, as it is harder to detect than it is in dogs.

Call Apple Tree Animal Clinic Today!

If you are concerned your pet may have heartworms, please schedule an appointment with the Apple Tree Animal Clinic. We will examine your pet and recommend treatment for a positive diagnosis. As a pet owner in Ranson, you can trust our veterinary services to help keep your pet healthy.