Heartworm Disease Prevention Month

April is known as Heartworm Disease Prevention Month. It makes sense- the weather is starting to warm up, we’re experiencing lots of April showers which create the perfect standing water environments for mosquitos to breed. 

Heartworm prevention is a year round endeavor that is relatively low maintenance but the benefits are significant. 

What is heartworm disease? 

Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. The bite causes your pet to develop foot-long worms that live in their hearts and lungs. Yuck! 

Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states and presents all year long. Preventative care is imperative to maintain on a monthly basis to protect against this disease. 

Why is monthly prevention necessary? 

Heartworm disease is a serious and progressive disease. The treatment for dogs is costly and takes one to three months to treat. Dogs are treated with a strict regime of injections, hospitalizations, pain medication, lab work and limited exercise/mobility. 

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that is available for cats. Prevention is key! 

Studies show that long term, continuous use of heartworm preventatives are crucial to keeping your pet safe and heartworm disease free! 

What are the symptoms of heartworm disease? 

Dogs may show little to no symptoms early on, the longer the disease is left untreated the more  likely symptoms are to develop. Initial signs may be a persistent cough, inactivity or fatigue after an activity, deceased appetite and weight loss. If let untreated- dogs can develop heart failure and other more serious health complications. 

Cats may present with symptoms of coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite or weight loss. 

How do I know if my pet is safe from heartworm disease? 

We recommend that all dogs are test annually. Even when using a preventative, testing annually helps to ensure that your monthly prevention is working. 

For cats we encourage testing prior to being prescribed a preventative and then at your vet’s discretion after that. 

Want more information on heartworm disease? 

You can visit the American Heartworm Society’s website for more information and resources. 

And if your pet isn’t currently taking a monthly preventative, give us a call to schedule an appointment to get them protected. 

Personal, Professional, Passionate Care for Your Pets