Heartworm 101

April heralds the coming of Spring, and with it, a reminder to ensure that your Pup’s vaccinations are up to date, and the start of their yearly Heartworm, Flea and Tick prevention programs. We thought this would be a great time to share some facts about Heartworm, to increase awareness and maybe even dispel some myths.

How does heartworm end up in my dog (or cat)?

Heartworm is spread by an infected mosquito who then bites your pet. After the bite, it takes up to 6 months for the larvae to mature into adults, who then begin to reproduce in the lungs, heart and blood vessels.

What are the signs of heartworm in my pet?

In the early stages, many dogs show few symptoms if any. However, the longer the infection persists, they begin to display symptoms such as a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Some cats show little to no signs, whereas others how dramatic symptoms such as coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Unfortunately, some cats show no symptoms until the infestation has progressed significantly.

How often should my pet be tested?

Veterinarians recommend that pets on preventative medication should be tested yearly. Those not on preventative medication should be tested every 4-6 months, due to the life-cycle of the heartworm.

We hope this help to clarify some basics about heartworm and sets your on the path for a happy, healthy spring and summer!

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