|Breed:||American Cocker Spaniel|
Heartworm is a potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms that live in the arteries of the lungs and sometimes in the right side of the heart in dogs, cats and other types of mammals. Dogs are most susceptible to infection, but other pets that go outdoors are also at risk.How do dogs get Heartworm?
Heartworm larvae are transmitted by mosquitoes that have bitten an infected animal. The mosquito ingests Heartworm larvae in the infected blood and passes the larvae to the next animals it bites. It takes a little over six months for heartworm larvae to turn into adult worms. Heartworm cannot be transmitted through saliva or other bodily fluids.What are the symptoms?
Signs of heartworm in dogs include mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after little activity, lack of appetite and weight loss. Signs of heartworm in cats are not as specific and can easily be misdiagnosed as feline asthma or other lung problems. Infected cats may experience vomiting, gagging, difficult or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss.Can Cats get Heartworm?
Cats can get Heartworm, but they are more naturally resistant to it than dogs. Cats that go outside should be on Heartworm preventative. There is currently no product available to cure Heartworm in cats. Cats are often able to clear the infection themselves, but often experience a life-threatening shock reaction to the dead worms exiting their bodies. Heartworm prevention is imperative for any animal that goes outside. There are several types of heartworm preventative that are available from your veterinarian. The type you use is not as important as whether you stick to your plan and keep your pet protected at all times. Heartworm prevention in cats is more important than ever since infection in cats has been on the rise and even indoor cats have become infected.I live in a cold climate. Does that mean my dog is safe?
Heartworm is present in all 50 states, but is most prevalent in areas that have more moisture and mosquitoes present. Living in a colder climate does not mean that your pet will never become infected.HOw often should my pet be tested?
The best way to diagnose Heartworm is through a simple blood test at your veterinarian’s office. Dogs must be tested for heartworm before going on preventative because giving preventative to an infected dog can be harmful or even fatal. Since it takes up to seven months for larvae to mature, tests may not appear positive until the heartworms have matured. Animals should be tested for Heartworm annually.Isn't it cheaper just to treat Heartworm than to pay for preventative?
While Heartworm is treatable, the treatment is expensive, potentially fatal, and unpleasant for the dog. It is far more economical and convenient to instead keep your dog and any other pet you allow outdoors on a Heartworm preventative schedule. In dogs, the onset and severity of the infection is dependent on the number of adult heartworms present, how long the dog has been infected, and the activity level of the dog. The more adult worms that are present and/or the more active the dog is often increase the severity of the disease. A less active dog can have more heartworms present and have fewer ill effects compared to a more active dog that may have fewer or the same number of adult worms present.Can I get Heartworm?
Humans are not natural hosts for Heartworm. There have been a few cases where a human has been infected. According to medical reports over half of infected people only had one or two worms and never experienced symptoms. Usually, the larvae die before they mature into adult worms and the person's body produces scar tissue around it.