Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? It’s also International Guitar Month and National Poetry Month. While guitars and poems are definitely much more pleasant than heartworms, it is important for pet owners to understand what heartworms are, and why they’re so dangerous to our furry friends. A local Plano, TX vet discusses heartworms below.

What Are Heartworms?

Heartworms have definitely been named appropriately. Heartworms are transmitted from dog to dog via mosquitos. They are in larval form when they initially infect an animal, but soon take up residence in pets’ hearts, as well as their lungs and arteries. As they get bigger, they begin to interfere with pets’ vital organs. This is very dangerous, and can even be fatal. It’s worth noting that although cats can and do get heartworms, it’s more common for dogs to have them.

What Are The Symptoms?

It usually takes about 6 months for signs of a heartworm infestation to appear. Coughing is often the first symptom. Other symptoms include lethargy, shortness of breath, fatigue, reduced appetite, and lack of interest in play. Fido may also become a bit of a couch potato. More serious problems, such as fainting, develop down the road. Left untreated, heartworms can cause heart attacks, and, as mentioned above, can even be deadly.

How Are Heartworms Treated?

There are treatments available for heartworm infestations. Treatment is successful in most cases. However, eradicating heartworms can be expensive, especially if surgery is required. It also isn’t very pleasant for Fido. Your canine pal may need to take some harsh medicines. He may also need to be kenneled during the course of treatment, and may have his activities limited. Ask your vet for more information.

How Do I Protect My Pet?

Fortunately, it’s quite easy to keep your beloved pet safe from these horrible parasites. Just keep up with Fido’s heartworm prevention. This is also much cheaper! The AMVA estimates that heartworm prevention costs between $5-$15 monthly. Treating your dog for heartworm, however, can run between $400 to $1000. It’s worth noting that if your pet hasn’t been on heartworm prevention, he’ll need to be tested before starting a new regime. This is because heartworm prevention products won’t kill infestations.

To learn more about heartworms, or to make an appointment for your pet, contact us today. As your Plano, TX pet clinic, we are here to help!

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