Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm that lives in the heart and pulmonary vessels of dogs and cats and can cause heart failure. It can only be carried and transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworms can live up to 7 years, grow up to 12 inches long, and dog can be infected with up to 250 worms!
Heartworm Disease in Cats
Cats are less likely to develop Heartworm disease, however it is difficult to diagnose and there is no treatment. Cats typically are infected with a low worm burden, however it can cause severe reactions or instant death.
Heartworm disease is preventable. It is recommended that all dogs and cats get year round, monthly prevention. It is a prescription medication that is only available through your veterinarian. Heartworm prevention is safe, easy and inexpensive. Missing just one month of Heartworm prevention can put your pet at risk for Heartworm disease.
Heartworm and Tick Disease Testing
It is recommended to test dogs for Heartworms every year. It is a fast and easy blood test, and can also include screening for tick diseases. All dogs should be tested for Heartworms prior to starting prevention.
Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, and Ehrlichiosis that can cause lethargy, joint pain, or fever for your pet. Protect your dogs and cats from ticks with a monthly topical like Frontline Plus. Frontline is the only safe tick product for cats. Dog products and over the counter tick products can cause severe reactions in cats. Your dog is just one tick away from Lyme disease.
Heartworm prevention will also protect your pet from intestinal parasites. Pets and people can get infected with intestinal parasites such as Hookworms and Roundworms from infected soil. The environment can be infected for years, so always pick up stool and don’t walk barefoot or let children play in areas where pets defecate.
Fecal Testing and Deworming
Intestinal parasites can be transmitted between people, dogs, and cats. Always follow veterinary recommendations for deworming and parasite prevention. Intestinal worms can only be diagnosed with a microscopic examination of your pet’s feces and should be performed at least yearly. All puppies and kittens should always be dewormed for parasites, they can become infected with worms from the mother during pregnancy or while nursing. If not treated, intestinal parasites can cause weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, and even death.