Heartworm Info

About Heartworms

Heartworm disease is caused by long, slender parasites that can reach up to 12 inches in length and can infect dogs and cats. These parasites are transmitted from one pet to another by mosquitoes. The worms live in the right side of the heart and adjoining vessels of infected pets and are capable of causing substantial damage to the heart and lungs before they show any signs of disease. Fortunately, this is a disease that is entirely preventable.

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Is My Pet At Risk?

Heartworms primarily affect dogs, but infection in cats is common in many areas and is on the rise. Heartworm disease in cats is generally even more dangerous because it takes few worms to cause problems, and treatment is more risky.

Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Coughing

  • Fainting

  • Exercise intolerance

  • Excessive panting

  • Difficulty breathing

Florida ranks number one in our country for heartworm disease. Mosquitoes can travel in the wind many miles from a water source. One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to the death of a pet and no pet is completely safe.

Easy, Safe Prevention

The best way to reduce your pet’s risk of infection is to chose one of our safe monthly heartworm preventives that kill immature worms before they can cause damage.

Because they may already be infected, it is important for dogs over six moths of age to have a blood test before starting heartworm preventive. Limiting mosquito exposure is difficult, so the safest way to prevent heartworm infection is by getting the preventive.

Testing for Infection

We recommend that dogs six months and older be tested annually for heartworms. The earlier an infection is caught, the easier and safer the treatment is. We also recommend testing any pets that are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms. At EZ Pet Clinic, we provide a quick blood test to screen for infection.

When Disease Strikes

Treatment for heartworms can be risky and expensive. That’s why we advocate year-round prevention! The prognosis for the patients with heartworms varies, depending on the degree of infection. During the treatment, sick pets need strict confinement and monitoring, and most require hospitalization – sometimes for weeks.

Drug treatments are staggered to kill adult and immature worms. Supportive therapy is giving to decrease inflammation, aid breathing, and decrease the risk of complications. If a patient survives this disease, it is not immune and still needs a preventive. If the worms damage the heart, the pet may need lifelong supportive medication and therapeutic diets.

Please take these steps to prevent heartworm in your pets today.

Feline Heartworms

Feline Heartworm. Prevention is Key. Mosquitoes transmit this deadly disease to your cat. Heartworm disease is being recognized as an increasing problem in cats. Clinical signs may be confused with other common feline diseases, such as asthma. May be difficult and expensive to diagnose. Only 1 or 2 heartworms can cause serious or fatal disease in cats! No approved treatment exists for affected cats.

Common signs of feline heartworm include:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Coughing

  • Vomiting

  • Sluggishness

  • Collapse

  • Convulsion

  • Diarrhea

  • Sudden death

Cats are susceptible to heartworm. Prevalence of feline heartworm exposure may range from 5% to 33%. 11 – 15% of cats tested are positive for heartworm in Florida.

Indoor cats are at risk, too! It’s a common misconception that indoor cats aren’t in danger for parasitic infections.
This simply isn’t true. Fully 25% of infected cats are reported to be indoor cats.

Difficult to diagnose, easy to prevent.

Heartworm Prevention Important Information

All dogs must have proof of a negative heartworm examination before dispensing heartworm preventive. A negative heartworm exam entitles your pet to twelve doses per year of heartworm preventive. The first dose must be purchased within thirty days of the negative heartworm exam. If your pet has missed any monthly doses of heartworm preventive, he/she will need a heartworm examination before EZ Pet Clinic will dispense more heartworm preventive. For a refill, we must see proof of negative heartworm test and proof of prior heartworm preventive medication purchase.

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