Heartworm, scientifically known as Dirofilaria Immitis, is a widespread parasitic condition in dogs globally. It's particularly prevalent in regions where mosquitoes, the primary carriers, are abundant. When a mosquito bites a dog, it can transfer minuscule larvae into the bloodstream. Over time, these larvae mature into large worms that inhabit the heart and lungs of the host dog.
As the condition develops, signs like persistent coughing, weight reduction, fluid accumulation in the abdomen, episodes of fainting, anemia, and even collapse may manifest. If left untreated, heartworm can prove fatal. The good news is that there are several effective prophylactic treatments like Interceptor Plus, Simparica Trio, and Proheart injection.
While prevention is vital, it's also essential to schedule yearly veterinarian visits and blood tests for your dog. Even with diligent prevention, there's a small chance (1-2%) of heartworm infection, and a lapse in medication even for a short duration can lead to susceptibility. A grave risk arises if a heartworm-infected dog is inadvertently administered preventive medication, as it can induce a lethal reaction.
Addressing an established heartworm infection can be both costly and taxing on the dog's health, further emphasizing the significance of consistent preventive measures.
Heartworm disease was once thought rare in cats, but now known to be much more common (10-50% the canine rate). The symptoms and diagnosis of heartworm in cats are different than dogs. Cats usually have asthma signs (cough, out of breath, open mouth breathing) and will often have intermittent vomiting. The most common sign if fatality. The treatment for adult heartworms in cats is monthly prevention, which may or may not work. This is why keeping cats on monthly prevention (indoor and outdoor alike) is vital in the health and prevention of disease for your cat. We recommend Revolution Plus monthly for your cat.
Heartworm disease in dogs: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951469
Heartworm disease in cats: https://veterinarypartner.vin.com/default.aspx?pid=19239&id=4951471