Heartworm is the most dangerous of all canine parasites. Mosquitoes transmit the parasite, and the worms infest in the vessels of the heart. For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages. The number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites. Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss. Although this disease is usually treatable if caught early, treatment is painful and costly. Prevention of Heartworm disease is easy and affordable.
North Penn Animal Hospital recommends monthly treatment with a heartworm preventative every month for the life of your dog. You will receive a complimentary heartworm pill at your puppy’s first visit to get him started. Preventatives are available here at the hospital and should be given monthly for the life of your pet. In addition to preventing heartworm, these preventatives also treat your dog for intestinal roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. These intestinal parasites can be transmitted from your dog to you or your children; therefore, prevention is very important.
North Penn Animal Hospital recommends yearly 4DX testing for all dogs according to the guidelines of The American Heartworm Association. The test is performed in our office and requires a small blood sample. This test should be performed yearly beginning around your puppy’s 1st birthday. In addition to testing for heartworm, the test screens for three additional tick born diseases, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma Phagocytopilum.
For more information on Heartworm Disease visit www.heartwormsociety.org.
See the: Heartworm Life Cycle