Heartworm Disease — What It Is
Heartworm disease is caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis, a kind of roundworm that lives inside the guts and blood vessels of the lungs. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. it’s a significant disease that primarily affects the guts and lungs but also can affect the liver, kidney, eye, and central systema nervosum , and if untreated, can cause death.
Symptoms Of Heartworm Disease
The symptoms of heartworm disease are subtle and may be easy to miss. because the number of heartworms increases, the symptoms of coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, lack of appetite and weight loss become more apparent. However it’s best to not wait until symptoms develop since irreversible damage may have already occurred by then.
Who Is At The Risk Of Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease has been found altogether fifty states, though it’s more prevalent within the southeast and along the Mississippi . Studies by the American Heartworm Society (AHS) have found that heartworm infections are increasing across the us . While most of the people know that heartworm disease affects dogs, many are unaware that it also can affect cats. it had been once believed that cats were immune to heartworm infections but recent studies have shown this is often not the case. Cats, a bit like dogs, can get heartworm disease. the very fact is any animal are often bitten by a mosquito and thus become infected with the parasite. Speak together with your veterinarian about your particular pet’s risks and the way to guard them.
How Heartworm Disease Is Diagnosed
Heartworm disease is most ordinarily diagnosed using blood tests that detect the presence of heartworms. Many veterinarians run these fast, simple tests within the clinic and may offer you results within minutes. counting on the test results and therefore the animal’s symptoms additional laboratory tests, radiographs and a cardiac ultrasound can also be recommended to work out infection and severity.
How Heartworm Disease Is Treated
The goal of treatment is to kill the heartworms without harming the patient. Fortunately, the treatment options have improved but they still have potential risks. Infected animals usually receive a series of intramuscular injections, hospitalization then strict confinement to limit exercise for weeks. the very fact is, treatment is dear , time consuming and not without risks. For these reasons the goal should be prevention instead of treatment of this horrible disease.
How To Prevent Heartworm Disease
The best way to treat heartworm disease is to stop it within the first place. Fortunately, there are numerous safe and effective preventative medications available. Heartworm preventative medications are available from your veterinarian in many forms: oral, topical, and injectable. additionally to protecting your pets from heartworm disease, many of the heartworm preventatives also protect your pet against other internal parasites. this is often important because it helps prevent the spread of parasites. So not only are you getting heartworm protection for your pet but also peace of mind that your pet has not picked up parasites like roundworms which will be transmitted to other pets and even humans. Finally, before starting preventative medications on pets over 6 months aged , have your veterinarian test them for heartworm infection because serious complications can develop if an infected animal is started on certain preventatives.