Each year, one in 200 dogs will be infected with heartworm. This serious illness can cause sickness and even death if left undetected. The good news is heartworm is completely preventable with monthly treatments from your veterinarian. To help educate animal lovers, the American Heartworm Society has named April as heartworm awareness month. If you live in the Greensboro area and need more information on pet care and heartworm prevention, contact the West Market Veterinary Hospital.
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworm is an illness that is transferred to your pet from the bite of an infected mosquito. The heartworm larvae are carried through the blood where they grow and multiply in the heart, lungs, and other organs. Because there is no way to tell if a mosquito is infected or not, it’s important to use a heartworm preventative.
What Is Heartworm Prevention Month?
Heartworm awareness month provides an opportunity to educate pet owners on the importance of heartworm prevention. This infection has been diagnosed in all 50 states and it can affect pets that stay indoors. In fact, 25 percent of all cats infected were reported as indoor only pets.
Signs and Symptoms of Heartworm
In the early stages, an animal may not display any outward signs of the disease. As it progresses, you may note your pet is more tired after exercise or have a lingering cough. During stage three of the disease, your pet may have trouble breathing and will be reluctant to perform any type of exercise. Also, at this point in the illness, heartworms are visible with an x-ray. Your pet may also cough blood.
Heartworm medications are available as a monthly preventative from your veterinarian. If you live in the Greensboro area and need to schedule an appointment for regular pet care or you want more information about heartworm, contact West Market Veterinary Hospital at (336) 292-4753.