Understanding Heartworm Disease and the
Need for Public Awareness
Being outdoors is undoubtedly healthy for our pets and ourselves. However, as the weather warms up and beckons us to be outside more often, it's important to acknowledge that there are also risks that come with being outdoors. One such risk for cats and dogs is heartworms and the resulting heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease poses serious health risks to both cats and dogs, and it's why our team of veterinary professionals at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County is dedicated to raising public awareness throughout our area of Sullivan County and its key cities of Ferndale, Monticello, and Liberty. The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions about heartworm disease we get at our animal hospital to help you better understand this disease.
Heartworm Disease Awareness
- What Are Heartworms? Heartworms are a type of parasite that start as tiny larvae and grow to become foot-long worms that live and feed in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of certain mammals, including dogs and cats.
- How Can My Pet Get Heartworms? Heartworms are transferred by mosquitos. Microfilaria, which is what heartworms are called when they are in the beginning stages of life, can be found in an infected animal's blood, and when a mosquito lands on an infected animal and ingests its blood, they likewise take in the microfilaria. When the mosquito lands on your pet dog or outdoor cat, then in the process of ingesting your animal’s blood, it leaves behind the microfilaria in its bloodstream. This microfilaria slowly grows until they become so large that they cause severe damage to your pet's health.
- What Are The Symptoms of Heartworm Disease? In the early stages of the disease, your cat or dog may be more fatigued than usual, but serious symptoms won't appear until a couple of months after it is first infected. For cats, respiratory issues occur, and they may sound as though they have asthma. For dogs, symptoms include weight loss, coughing, labored breathing, and bloody urine.
- How Can I Protect My Pet from Heartworm Disease? The good news is that there are a number of excellent heartworm prevention options available, and our veterinarian can recommend a few to you. The nice thing about the majority of the heartworm preventatives is that they are intestinal parasite preventatives as well. Schedule a Visit with Our Veterinarian in Sullivan County Today for Preventative Care
If you're worried your pet might have heartworms, or you want to get it on a preventative before the summer starts, then give our veterinary team a call today at 845-292-6711 to schedule a vet visit. Animal Hospital of Sullivan County proudly serves areas of Ferndale, Monticello, and Liberty.