HomeBlogPreventive MedicineHeartworm PreventionWhat Are the Dangers of Heartworms, and Can They Be Prevented?

What Are the Dangers of Heartworms, and Can They Be Prevented?

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At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we are committed to helping animals stay healthy at every stage of their life. As dedicated veterinarians, we’re here to bring light to a serious health concern that many pet owners may not know about: the potential health risks caused by heartworms. These deadly parasites pose a significant threat to our beloved cats and dogs, and understanding their nature can be the first step towards safeguarding our pets’ health. Our veterinarians are here to provide the information you need.

Unmasking Heartworms: What Are They and How Do They Affect Our Pets?

Heartworms are parasites spread by mosquitoes that primarily target dogs but can also afflict cats. The danger of these worms lies in their ability to go unnoticed for years, silently causing severe damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of your pet.

When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a dog or cat, the larvae enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart and lungs. Here, they grow into adults, reaching up to 12 inches long, and can live for 5-7 years. Once mature, these heartworms reproduce, releasing microfilaria or baby heartworms into the bloodstream.

In dogs, heartworm disease can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure, and other organ damage. Symptoms may include coughing, fatigue, fainting, and weight loss. Cats, while not the natural hosts for heartworms, can still suffer significant health issues due to these parasites. Symptoms in cats might be subtle or dramatic, including coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss.

The Risks: Factors Influencing Heartworm Prevalence

The prevalence of heartworms varies depending on several factors. Location is a significant determinant, with warmer climates fostering more mosquito populations, leading to higher heartworm risks. Additionally, certain breeds may be more susceptible to heartworm infections, and age can also play a role, with younger animals being more susceptible than older ones.

The Defense: Importance of Preventative Medication

The best defense against heartworms is prevention. Regular checkups with a veterinarian are crucial in ensuring your pet’s health. Veterinarians can administer tests to detect the presence of heartworms and prescribe appropriate preventative medication.

At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we offer comprehensive preventative services, including oral tablets administered monthly and preventative injections given every six or twelve months. Our dedicated team is experienced in a wide range of practices, including heartworm prevention, making us a reliable choice for your pet’s healthcare.

Protect Your Pets with Blue Lake Animal Hospital

Heartworms are a serious threat to our pets’ health, but with proper understanding and preventative measures, it is a threat that can be managed.

At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we believe in providing the highest standard of veterinary services to help pets live healthier lives. We treat an array of animals from cats and dogs to rabbits and reptiles, providing services such as vaccinations, dental care, surgical services, and more.

Do not wait until it’s too late. Protect your pet from the dangers of heartworm disease. Contact Blue Lake Animal Hospital today for comprehensive heartworm prevention services. We look forward to serving you and your pet with exceptional care and attention.

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