April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. It’s also National Poetry Month and National Pecan Month. While those are definitely more pleasant topics, heartworm prevention is much more in our wheelhouse. Heartworm infestations can make your canine pal very sick, and, left untreated, can even be fatal. An Anderson, IN vet discusses ways to keep your pet safe from heartworms below.
The best way to protect Fido is also the simplest. Keep your pooch up to date with his preventative care. However, your pet will need to be tested before he can start his regimen. The medicine that prevents heartworm infestations won’t work on live worms. That would require a much more intensive treatment. Ask your vet for more information.
It’s important to know the signs of heartworm infestations, so you know what to look for. Coughing is often the first thing you’ll notice. Some of the early ones include fatigue, shortness of breath, and reduced interest in play. As the condition progressed, Fido may lose his appetite, which will in turn result in him losing weight. Severe infestations can lead to more serious signs, including dizziness, fainting, collapse. Heartworms can also cause heart attacks and, unfortunately, sudden death.
Heartworms aren’t spread directly from pup to pup. Instead, they are transmitted via one of the most hated insects ever: the mosquito. This means that Fido can get infested anywhere a mosquito can go … which is just about anywhere. Making your own home less hospitable to mosquitos certainly won’t hurt. Don’t let standing water collect in things like wheelbarrows and plant pots.
Even with taking proper precautions, there is still a chance your pet could get infected. It appears that some heartworms have developed a resistance to certain heartworm preventatives. It’s also possible that an exam may have turned up a false negative, if it was taken immediately after your pet got infested. You’ll also need to make sure that Fido is getting the correct dose for his weight, and staying protected all year long. In any case, it’s important to have your canine companion tested regularly. This is one area where it’s best to err on the side of caution!
For more information on heartworms, and how to prevent them, call us, your local Anderson, IN animal hospital! We are dedicated to offering great veterinary care!