Southeast Memphis is a center for heartworm disease. This serious condition can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage and even death. Heartworm disease is most often found in dogs, cats and ferrets. Here, our vets explain why prevention is key.
What is heartworm?
Heartworm disease, which is spread through the bite of a mosquito, is primarily is caused by a parasitic worm called dirofilaria immitis.
Pets such as dogs, cats and ferrets can become a 'definitive host', meaning that while living inside the animal the worms mature into adults and then mate and produce offspring. This serious condition is called heartworm disease because the worms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of an infected pet.
What are symptoms of heartworm disease?
Symptoms of heartworm disease generally don’t show up until the disease has progressed severely. The most common symptoms of heartworm disease include: fatigue, swollen abdomen, coughing, difficulty breathing and weight loss.
How does the vet check my pet for heartworms?
Blood tests can be done at your vet's office to detect heartworm proteins, called antigens, which are released into the animal's bloodstream.
About 5 months after an animal is bitten by an infected mosquito is the earliest that the heartworm proteins can be detected.
What if my pet is diagnosed with heartworms?
It's important to note that the treatment for heartworm disease can cause serious complications and be potentially toxic to the pet’s body. Not only that, treatment is also expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, bloodwork, x-rays, hospitalization, and a series of injections.
That's why, the absolute best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention!
That said, if your pet is diagnosed with heartworms, there are treatment options available from your vet.
FDA approved melarsomine dihydrochloride is an arsenic-containing drug that kills adult heartworms. Melarsomine dihydrochloride is administered by an injection into the back muscles of the pet in order to treat heartworm disease.
Topical FDA approved solutions are also available from your vet. These can help to get rid of parasites in the bloodstream when applied directly to the animal's skin.
How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworm disease?
Keeping your pet on preventative medication is the best way to prevent heartworm disease.
Even if they're already on preventive heartworm medication, it is recommended that dogs be tested for heartworms annually.
Heartworm prevention is safer, easier and much more affordable than treating the progressed diseased! A number of heartworm preventive medications can also help protect against other parasites such as hookworms, whipworms and roundworms.
Heartworm Prevention is included in our annual Wellness Plans. Choose the Wellness Plan that's right for your pet.
Looking for a vet in Southeast Memphis?
We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
Related Articles View All
Heartworm disease is a serious, often fatal condition in dogs that can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and more. Preventing heartworm disease is both easier on your pet, and on your wallet than treating the disease after your dog gets ill. Our Southeast Memphis vets explain why.
Babesia infection or Babesiosis is a tick borne disease diagnosed in dogs across the United States. In today's post our Southeast Memphis vets explain the symptoms and treatments for Babesiosis as well as how you can protect your dog against this and other tick borne diseases.
Anaplasmosis is one of the many tick borne diseases that threaten the health of people, pets and other animals across the United States. Today our Southeast Memphis vets explain the symptoms of Anaplasmosis in dogs and how this condition is treated.
Tick borne diseases pose a very real health threat for dogs across North America. Symptoms can be painful and even be life-threatening for your pet. Here, our Memphis vets describe a few of the most common tick borne diseases in dogs, their symptoms and why early treatment is essential.
While the words hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism look similar, and can be confusing, these conditions in cats are very different. Today our Southeast Memphis vets share a little about the symptoms and causes of hypothyroidism in cats.