Like any other veterinary animal hospital in Jackson, TN, and the surrounding area, our vet at the University Parkway Animal Hospital strongly believes your pet must be treated to prevent heartworm. This devastating disease is one that our veterinarian staff finds especially bad because it is so easily prevented with a once-a-month treatment. Let's take a look at what heartworm is and why it is so heartbreaking to have to diagnose your pet with it.
What is Heartworm?
Heartworms are parasitic worms that take up residence in your dog's heart and the large blood vessels connecting the heart to the lungs. As these young worms grow to become adults, they block the artery and don't allow blood to reach the lungs. At first, the signs will be subtle. Your dog may cough a little, act a bit sluggish, and not want to eat. As the heartworms grow, his breathing will become more labored and the coughing increase. If left untreated, a heartworm infection will end with your dog entering a coma and dying. With the early signs being so minor, the only way to know for sure if your pet has been infected is to have a veterinarian test for their presence. Most often, all that is needed to find out if your pet is infected is a simple blood test.
How do Pets Get Heartworm?
Heartworm larvae are gathered from an infected dog when a mosquito bites them. Once the mosquito bites another dog, the larvae are transferred to that dog. Some people believe if they have one dog that has become infected that they need to isolate the dog from the rest of their animals, but that isn't necessary. After having all the animals tested, using a preventive on the animals that are not infected will prevent the disease from being transferred. You must get any infected pets help.
Is Heartworm Treatable?
While heartworm is treatable, it is a long process that requires your pet to stay at the animal hospital for a time. Once leaving the hospital, they need to stay still and in a controlled environment for another six weeks due to the risk of blood clots. In addition to being costly, the treatment is risky and very stressful for both you and your pet. It is also less likely that heartworm can be treated if it has reached the latter stages and there are many adult worms. Prevention is a much easier route to follow.
Protect Your Pet Now
Contact University Parkway Hospital in Jackson today at (731) 661-0711. Getting your pet started on a monthly heartworm treatment now can help prevent expensive treatment in the future.