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Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? Keeping up with your dog’s parasite control products is very important! Heartworms are one of the most dangerous parasites our canine pals can pick up. A Cherry Hill, NJ vet discusses heartworms in this article.

Basics

As the names suggests, heartworms are worms that can infest Fido’s heart. They can also infiltrate his lungs and blood vessels. As the worms grow, they will start to interfere with your pup’s circulation and vital organs. Left untreated, they can be fatal. It’s worth noting that while heartworms usually infest dogs, other animals, including cats, can be infested.

Contraction

Dogs do not get heartworms directly from one another. Instead, mosquitos transmit the worms from infected dogs to other pooches. The worms are in larval stage at this point, but they quickly start growing. It’s important to realize that because mosquitos are, well, pretty much everywhere, Fido can pick up heartworms at any place or time, even in his own doggy bed.

Signs of Heartworm

Infestations are asymptomatic at first, but you will start to see signs as the worms get bigger. Some early warning signs include coughing and shortness of breath. Fido may get tired out easily, and may lose his breath after even mild exercise. Your pet may also begin to cough up blood. Severe infestations can cause fainting and heart attacks.

Treating Fido

Heartworms are treatable, but the treatment is fairly intense, and won’t be much fun for Fido. Your canine buddy may need to take some very strong medications. While he is undergoing treatment, he may need to stay in a kennel, as overexertion can be very dangerous to pooches with heartworm infestations. Surgery may also be required. The exact treatment needed is always determined on a case-by-case basis. If you know or suspect that your pup has heartworms, call your vet immediately.

Prevention

Fortunately, protecting your furry best friend from heartworms is very simple. Just be sure to keep up with Fido’s heartworm prevention, and you won’t have to worry about your beloved pet contracting these horrible parasites. This is one case where an ounce of prevention can be worth several pounds of cure! Ask your vet for specific advice.

Please contact us, your Cherry Hill, NJ pet clinic, with any question or concerns about your dog’s heartworm prevention products. We are dedicated to providing excellent care!

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