Heartworm Awareness Month

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. Heartworms may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, but keeping your beloved pet safe from these deadly parasites is very important! Read on as a local Coon Rapids, MN vet discusses heartworms, and how to protect your canine pal from them.

Basics
Heartworms are a type of parasite that, as one may suspect, can infest Fido’s heart, as well as his lungs and blood vessels. Generally, the worms are in larval phase during the initial infection, so you may not notice anything unusual at first. However, as they grow, the heartworms begin to interfere with your pet’s vital organs. This can lead to some very major medical issues! If the worms are not eradicated, the infestation can be fatal. It’s worth noting that although heartworms usually infest dogs, cats can also contract heartworms. Ask your vet for more information.

Symptoms
Heartworm infestations are asymptomatic at first, but as the worms grow, symptoms begin to appear. Some early warning signs include coughing, fatigue, and shortness of breath. These things will become more pronounced as the infestation worsens. Fido may cough up blood, faint, and grow listless. He could even have a heart attack!

Transmission
Heartworms cannot move directly from one dog to another. Instead, they are transmitted through mosquito bites. That means that dogs can contract heartworms anywhere mosquitos can reach: even the interior of your home.

Treatment
Although heartworms can be treated, treatment can be quite costly, and is also very taxing for Man’s Best Friend. It takes some very powerful medications to kill heartworms, so it’s crucial to keep Fido from overexerting himself while he is under treatment. This means that your pet may need to stay kenneled for quite a while, which can be very hard on our canine pals. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

Prevention
As the saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is certainly true when it comes to heartworms. All you need to do to keep your furry best friend safe from these terrible parasites is just keep up with his prevention products. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about heartworms? Is Fido overdue for his heartworm prevention? Contact us, your local Coon Rapids, MN animal clinic, right away! We are here to serve all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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