Heartworms are a serious and sometimes fatal problem for pets. They affect pets not only in the United States, but all over the world. Heartworms live in the lungs and heart of affected animal. They can lead to heart failure and lung disease. They can also cause damage to organs throughout the body. They affect not only dogs, but also cats and even ferrets. If you suspect your pet may have heartworms, contact a veterinarian. We can help you here at Oxford Animal Hospital in The Villages, FL. Dr. Leah Girard will be able to diagnose your pet and recommend the most efficient treatment.
How Heartworms Affect Cats and Dogs
Heartworms that live inside of dogs end up maturing into adults. They then produce offspring. If this is not treated, the numbers of offspring can increase. This can lead to permanent lung and heart damage. It can also have a huge effect on a dog’s quality of life, even after the worms are long gone. This is why it is important to prevent them in the first place. Cats do not suffer from heartworms as often as dogs do. The primary symptom of heartworm is heart and lung damage.
Signs of Heartworms
Many dogs do not show any symptoms at the beginning of the disease. Symptoms tend to develop as an infestation persists. Symptoms may include a persistent cough, exhaustion after activity, avoidance of exercise, a decrease in appetite, and weight loss. Heart failure usually doesn’t happen until the worms sufficiently proliferate. Blockages of blood flow form when there is a large number of heartworms present. This damages organs and can cause death.
Once a diagnosis of heartworm is confirmed by a veterinarian, exercise should be immediately restricted. Once a dog has been stabilized and the vet feels that he or she is ready, treatment can begin. Dogs that only show mild signs of the disease have a higher rate of successful treatments. On the other hand, dogs that have a more severe form of the disease can be treated, but there is a great risk of complications. Normally, an injection is given to kill adult heartworms. However, the vet will determine the exact schedule for a series of injections to be delivered.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Veterinarian Today
Give us a call here at Oxford Animal Hospital in The Villages, FL, to schedule an appointment with Dr. Leah Girard. We look forward to helping you and your pet finds the treatment that he or she needs.