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Heartworms: What You Need To Know

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. While there are definitely more pleasant things to talk about, it is important for pet owners to be aware of the dangers heartworms pose to your beloved pet. A Bee Cave, TX vet discusses these disgusting parasites in this article.

Mosquitos Carry Them

Heartworms aren’t transmitted directly from pooch to pooch. Instead, they have enlisted everyone’s favorite bug, the mosquito, to carry them. Mosquitos pass larvae from one dog to another via infected blood, which is transmitted when they bite.

They’re In All States

Because mosquitos are pretty much everywhere, heartworms are also widespread. In fact, they can be found in all of North America. Fido can even be infected while curled up in his doggy bed inside your home.

They Are Lethal

Heartworms, as the name suggests, infest Fido’s heart, as well as his lungs and arteries. As they grow, they begin to interfere with dogs’ vital organs. Left untreated, infestations can be fatal.

Coughing Is The First Symptom

Usually, coughing is one of the first symptoms of a heartworm infestation. This usually happens about six months after infestation. You may also notice Fido becoming very tired and/or losing his breath easily. As the infestation worsens, your canine pal may become lethargic, and lose interest in running or playing. More serious symptoms appear down the road. These may include fainting, coma, and even heart attacks.

Treatment Can Be Challenging

There are heartworm treatments available. However, treatment can be quite expensive. It can also be quite invasive. Your dog may need to take some harsh medications to eradicate the worms. Fido may need to be kenneled during treatment. This is to restrict his movement and avoid putting too much stress on his heart. Severe infestations may even require surgery.

Protecting Your Pet Is Easy

Now for the good news! All you have to do to keep your beloved dog or cat safe from these horrible worms is just keep up with their parasite control products! However, if your furry friend has been off their parasite control for a while, your vet will need to run some tests before starting up again. This is because the medication that prevents infestations doesn’t kill live worms. Ask your vet for more information.

Please reach out to us, your local Bee Cave, TX vet clinic, with all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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