Preventing Heartworm Disease in Cats and Dogs

One of the scariest illnesses that can befall your dog or cat is heartworm. Heartworm is a parasite that affects cats and dogs can lead to significant health issues and even death. While there are many illnesses and diseases that can impact your pet’s health, Heartworm is one of the most worrying and must be prevented.

Luckily, monthly heartworm prevention medicine can help stop the parasite from taking hold and prevent its spread to others. At Riverside Animal Hospital, we are here to provide all pet owners with the education, expertise and medicine to help stop Heartworm from hurting your loved ones. 

What Is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is spread from animal to animal via mosquito bites. It affects many types of animals but is a well-known disease because of its potentially fatal impact on dogs and cats.  It is found all over the United States and unfortunately impacts indoor and outdoor pets the same way because of the prevalence of mosquitos. 

Mosquitos carry the larvae from one animal to another which takes hold in their bodies after a mosquito bite. If left untreated, the parasites grow into worms that could be 14 inches long. These worms unfortunately destroy the organs and tissue of the animal which they inhabit.

How to Prevent Heartworms

The most important thing to know when it comes to preventing Heartworm is that prevention is significantly more effective than curing an existing disease. With proper Heartworm medicine prescribed by your vet, there is an almost 100% prevention rate. This means that cats and dogs never have to worry about this serious disease.

Unfortunately, if the disease takes hold it is difficult to cure. While dogs usually have a good success rate if they are healthy, cats that have been infected with Heartworm have very low odds. Luckily, there are plenty of preventative options your vet can recommend for your cat depending on their age, health and background. Some medicines are even paired with other preventative meds like flea prevention and other anti-parasitic medicine.

Signs to Look For

There are a number of tests that can be done to see if your pet is suffering from Heartworms. For dogs, the vet will run blood tests that look for traces of the worms along with running x-rays and echocardiograms to look at their hearts.

Unfortunately, it is much harder to detect Heartworm in cats. A combination of the tests above might be used to confirm the presence of the worms.

It Never Hurts to Check

Heartworm is one of the scariest things that can happen to your pet. Luckily, our expert veterinarian staff can help with any medical needs your pet may have, including preventing Heartworm before it becomes a problem. At Riverside Animal Hospital, we provide a number of preventative and curative services to help you and your pets live your best life together for as long as possible.

If you suspect that your pet may have come into contact with Heartworms or just want to find out more info, contact us today at Riverside Animal Hospital to get in touch with one of our highly experienced vets.