About Heartworm Prevention by Your Veterinarian in Richmond, TX
Heartworm disease is a devastating and sometimes fatal disease for pets. The good news is that heartworm prevention is simple, inexpensive and easily administered by Brazos Bend Animal Hospital, your veterinarian in Richmond.
Click here to learn more about ProHeart 6, the single injection that gives your dog up to 6 months of heartworm protection.
What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease occurs when an animal is infested with foot-long worms that reside in various parts of its body. Most often the worms reside in the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Dogs, cats and ferrets are particularly susceptible to contracting heartworm, but some species of wild animals also get it.
Heartworm Disease in Dogs
When a dog is truly infected, he or she can harbor up to several hundred worms that lodge in the heart. Damage is often significant and the reason why heartworm prevention is critical. Dogs may show few if any symptoms of heartworm when first infected but later on, they may cough, be less active and tired after being somewhat active, and lose their appetite.
Heartworm Disease in Cats
Heartworm disease acts differently in cats. A cat may cough, vomit, have trouble breathing, and decreased appetite. More severe symptoms include fainting, swollen abdomen, seizures and trouble walking. Unfortunately, an owner may not see any symptoms until their cat suddenly collapses or dies.
How is Heartworm Disease Contracted?
The cycle begins with an already heartworm-infected animal whose blood is infused with the baby worms of the mature heartworm. That animal is bitten by a mosquito who then deposits what has matured into infective heartworm larvae onto its skin. The larvae invade the host through the mosquito’s bite.
How Likely is my Pet to Get Heartworm?
Unfortunately, heartworm has been detected in all states across the country. The good news is that the incidence in some parts of the country are fewer than in others. The bad news is that here in Richmond we have a significantly higher incidence of heartworm disease.
How to Prevent Your Pet From Getting Heartworm?
A good heartworm prevention plan is absolutely necessary to keep your pet safe from this dangerous disease. The first step is to make sure to get your pet tested during your annual visit with our veterinarian. If positive, your pet will need heartworm treatment, including a course of heartworm medicine. If negative, we will proceed with the prevention plan. If your pet does contract heartworm disease, it is very expensive to treat, much more so than an effective prevention program.
How is Heartworm Treated?
If you suspect your pet has heartworm, a visit to our veterinarian should be immediate. Once we confirm the diagnosis, keep your pet as quiet as possible. We’ll then work with you to design a treatment protocol based on the severity of the disease. This protocol will involve heartworm medication. We have good results with Brazos Bend AH which offers both heartworm treatment and prevention.
The best plan to spare your pet potential misery and even death is a solid heartworm prevention program.