April is Heartworm Awareness Month! In honor of that, we wanted to write a little blog post on the importance of testing and prevention, as well as what the treatment if your pet is diagnosed with heartworms.
Dirofilaria immitis (Heartworm) is a parasite that is transmitted through a bite of an infected mosquito. It attacks the lungs, heart and blood vessels of the infected animal and is fatal if left untreated. This disease primarily affects dogs, but occasionally, although rarely, cats can also be infected.
There are no immediate signs of Heartworm disease, but once the worm reproduces and begins to crowd the lungs and heart, the pet may become more winded when exercising, start coughing and even collapse from lack of oxygen.
Treatment of Heartworm disease consists of 2-3 injections of an arsenic-based product called Immiticde in the spine of your pet. While undergoing treatment, the animal must be on strict kennel confinement for several months. Failure to comply with this could result in the death of the animal being treated.
Heartworm disease is very preventable. We recommend that all dogs, especially those who travel outside of the state, are tested regularly and on monthly prevention starting in puppyhood. Testing is done with just a quick blood draw and results are available in 15 minutes. With a monthly chew or pill, your pet could be protected-and so could your wallet! Treatment is very expensive but prevention is extremely affordable.
Our goal at DVC is to make sure that your pets are healthy and happy. We strongly recommend getting your pet test and starting preventative. For the month of April, we are offering $10 off of Heartworm testing and 10% off of your choice of preventative. Call today to schedule an appointment!