You love your pets and want nothing to happen to them, but they are at risk for a variety of illnesses and diseases. One of these is heartworms, which are blood parasites that potentially can be deadly to dogs and cats. The good news is that they are preventable and treatable if your pet becomes positive for heartworms. Dr. Turley and our team at Hamilton Road Animal Hospital in Columbus would like to provide some essential information to help you keep your cat or dog free from heartworms.
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworms are blood parasites that are transmitted through mosquito bites. They grow up to a foot long and make a home in your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Without heartworm prevention and treatment, your furry friend could suffer from permanent damage to their lungs, heart, kidneys, liver and blood vessels.
Signs of Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease isn’t always easy to notice in the beginning. However, once the heartworms begin to grow and the disease progresses, the symptoms will begin to appear. These include the following:
- Constant cough
- Decrease in appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your cat or dog to your veterinarian immediately. Even if these symptoms are unrelated to heartworms, it could be another serious issue that needs attention right away.
Heartworm Disease Prevention
The best treatment for heartworms is to prevent them in the first place. Not only does this keep your pet healthier, but it also saves you money. Heartworm treatment will cost you much more than heartworm prevention.
Work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best heartworm disease prevention method. Heartworm prevention medication can begin when your pet is around eight to ten weeks old and should be given year round. You will need to be sure you are taking your pet to your veterinarian for their yearly wellness exam and annual heartworm blood test to ensure that your pet has not developed heartworms.
It is important to know that all pets are at risk. Even if you keep your cat or dog indoors, it doesn’t keep them completely safe from the disease. There is still a chance of them developing heartworms, so you want to take the necessary preventative measures no matter what.
Schedule Your Pet’s Heartworm Prevention Exam in Columbus, OH
Don’t wait until symptoms develop. Schedule your pet’s appointment with our team at Hamilton Road Animal Hospital. We are here to ensure your furry friend gets the protection that he or she needs to stay safe from these pests. Call our team today at (614) 239-0027 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form to schedule an appointment with Dr. Turley or one of our staff veterinarians.