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Dogs and Heartworm

Heartworm is one of the most common and the most serious health issues that can affect our canine friends. In some regions, where the parasite is endemic, dogs are almost certain to contract heartworm if they aren’t given preventative medicine. Luckily, heartworm is also preventable! In this article, your local vet Fayette County goes over some of the facts on this deadly parasite.

What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is, as the name suggests, a parasite that can invade your dog’s heart. Fido’s lungs and blood vessels can also be compromised. Left untreated, heartworm can lead to very serious health issues, including heart failure, collapse, and even death.

Transmission

Heartworm is spread by mosquitos. Infected mosquitos carry heartworm larvae, which are then transmitted through bites. While dogs in some areas may be at higher risk than others, heartworm can affect dogs in any state.

Symptoms of Heartworm

In its early stages, heartworm infestation is asymptomatic. As the infection worsens, however, dogs will begin to show signs of illness. Coughing is one symptom of a heartworm infestation. Dogs with heartworms may tire easily, and thus be reluctant to exercise. Loss of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, and weight loss can also indicate infestation.

Treatment

While heartworm infestations are easy to prevent, they can be very expensive and difficult to treat. That said, heartworm can be successfully defeated, though in severe cases the treatment can be very intense and invasive for poor Fido. Treatment options range from medication and restriction of activity to confinement and even surgery. The exact course of action needed will depend on the severity of the infestation. It is important to realize that heartworm infestations can have lasting effects, even if treatment is successful. Dogs that have had heartworm may be put on a special diet, and may be restricted from vigorous exercise after the heartworms are gone.

Prevention

As the old saying says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is certainly the case when it comes to heartworms! Your vet can easily protect your dog from this terrible parasite with preventative medicine. Remember, having Fido screened regularly for heartworm is crucial to your furry pal’s health, as early detection greatly increases the odds of successful treatment.

Please contact us, your vet clinic Fayette County, with any questions about your dog’s health care.

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