Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? We know, it’s more fun to talk about other things that are associated with April, like spring and Easter bunnies. However, heartworms are extremely dangerous parasites, and can even be fatal, so it’s important for pet parents to understand how crucial heartworm prevention is. Read on as a Crown Point, IN vet discusses heartworms.

Basics

As one might expect because of their name, heartworms are worms that infest dogs’ hearts, as well as their lungs and blood vessels. As the worms grow, they can inhibit your furry pal’s circulation and respiration. This is very dangerous! Left untreated, heartworm infestations can be deadly.

Transmission

Heartworms are always in the larval stage when they first infest dogs. Fido won’t get worms directly from another pup. Instead, mosquitos—possibly the biggest jerks of the insect world—transmit heartworm larvae from infested dogs to other pooches. Just one bite from a mosquito carrying heartworms is all it takes to start an infestation! It’s also important to realize, that because mosquitos are, unfortunately, pretty much everywhere, Man’s Best Friend can get bit anywhere, even in his own doggy bed! That said, some areas—such as dog parks—are more risky than others are.

Signs of Infestation

Early signs of heartworm infestations include coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath. As the worms grow, the symptoms will become more severe, and can include fainting, coughing up blood, and, with severe infestations, heart attacks.

Treatment

Fortunately, heartworms can be treated. However, the process is quite tough on our canine pals, and can also be expensive. While the exact treatment needed will depend on Fido’s age, weight, health, and breed, as well as the severity of the infestation, dogs often have to take strong medicine to beat heartworm infestations. Your furry buddy may also need to be kenneled during treatment, so he doesn’t overexert himself. Needless to say, the sooner an infestation is caught and treated, the better!

Prevention

Now for some good news: it’s easy to protect Fido from heartworms. All you need to do to keep your beloved pet safe from these horrible worms is to keep up with his parasite control products. Ask your vet for more information.

Does your canine friend need heartworm medication? Contact us, your Crown Point, IN animal clinic today. We are dedicated to providing the best veterinary care around!