• Atta Boy! Animal Care

Keep Worms Out of Your Pets HEART!

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis.The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito. 


The worms are called “heartworms” because the adults LIVE in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal. 


With the summer months in full swing and the increase of mosquitos, we wanted to remind everyone of how important year round Heartworm prevention is for cats and dogs. Yes, Even INDOOR PETS easily get Heartworms. You have to open your doors eventually- and mosquitoes fly in! As a Vet Tech of 13 years I saw my fair share of dogs and cats that were INDOORS ONLY ( or just went out to potty quickly!) get diagnosed with Heartworms


Prevention is an important part of providing essential care to all of your animals.


Below are some facts on Heartworms:

• This year dogs and cats have been diagnosed with heartworm disease in every state in the U.S. ! Florida's weather provides a great breeding ground- so we have one of the highest rates of infection.

•Dogs and cats need prevention 365 days a year! per the the American Heartworm Society recommendation

•Heartworm preventives work preventing heartworms from fully forming or by killing heartworms that already infected the pet within the past month or longer; this is why preventives should be given on time, every time to be effective.

•Heartworm preventives are safe, relatively inexpensive and easy to give, but if a dog or cat becomes infected, heartworm treatment can be costly and difficult, requiring multiple veterinary visits and months of exercise restriction. The veterinary bill for Heartworm treatment can reach over $1000!

•Heartworm preventives come in different forms including: monthly chewable pills, topical “spot on” medications, as well as an injectable medication that is given every 6 months. Heartworm preventives are available by prescription from veterinarians. (this is because if a pet has heartworms and is given a prevention, without proper planning, can possibly

suffer death due to killing the heartworms to quickly and forming a blockage of parasite bodies in the bloodstream)

•Some preventives only prevent heartworms, some protect pets from heartworms and intestinal parasites, and some protect pets from many different parasites- including heartworms, intestinal worms, fleas, ticks and mites.


Because veterinarians know which parasites are common in the area in which they practice, owners should talk to their pet’s doctor about what product or products will be best for their pets.Your pet's doctor will require a heartworm test before prescribing any preventives ( required by medical 'law'). The heartworm test consist of a simple blood test and need to be performed annually to be able to get a prescription for the Heartworm Prevention.

For more information on heartworm see the link below. https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics

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