True or false: Most dogs only show signs of heartworm about six months after the initial infestation. Unfortunately, the answer is true! These parasites may look innocent enough, but they can cause irreversible organ damage, heart failure, lung disease and even death if left untreated. Unlike intestinal worms, heartworm can infiltrate the heart, lungs, blood vessels and other organs making way for several complications. With the help of our team, you can stop your pet from getting them in the first place. Call us at 905.885.8151 to learn how to protect your furry family member.
How can I protect my pet from getting heartworm?
The best (and easiest) way to prevent heartworm is by getting your pet on a heartworm preventive medication. There are many options available with different formulations and dosing schedules we can guide you on. The important thing to remember is pets need to be on a medication all year round. Missing just one or falling behind on your schedule can leave your pet unprotected.
What are signs of heartworm in pets?
When you start to notice persistent coughing, weight loss and reduced activity levels in your pet, they probably already have a serious parasitic infection. As we mentioned above, heartworm is virtually symptom-free in its early stages or if the pet has a small amount of worms. Regular check-ups are another way to screen for heartworm in your pet. A simple blood test is all it takes to check for heartworm.
How can pets get heartworm?
Your pet can get heartworm from a bite of a mosquito. Please note pets can still get heartworm in the wintertime. For example, if your pet was bitten in the summer, the larvae can develop if you skip their medications during the winter months. They can grow into adults and when you start the medications in the spring, it will no longer be effective on the mature heartworm. Mosquitos can also survive indoors in the colder months. In fact, approximately 30% of cats get heartworm in the winter – including those who live 100% indoors!