Heartworm Prevention Tips: National Heartworm Awareness Month
This month is National Heartworm Awareness Month. With summer on the horizon, now is an ideal time to improve your understanding of this potentially deadly illness and learn how you can protect your beloved pet. At Animal Place Veterinary Hospital, our skilled and compassionate veterinarians supply heartworm preventatives in Aspen Hill and are here to help you give your dog a happy, healthy life. Keep reading to find out more about heartworm and how to prevent it.
What Is Heartworm?
Heartworm disease occurs when an infected mosquito bites a dog or another animal. The heartworms reside inside the host's heart, blood vessels, and lungs. There they can reach up to 12 inches in length and cause irreversible organ damage. When left untreated, the parasites grow and multiply continuously, leading to further issues, including poor general health and, in many cases, a decreased lifespan.
Heartworm disease can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Persistent cough
- Fatigue after even light exercise
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Swollen abdomen
- Light-colored gums
- Labored breathing or shortness of breath
How to Prevent Heartworm
Heartworm is very difficult to treat. And even with treatment, the damage left behind by the disease is usually permanent. Preventing heartworm disease is a much better option than trying to treat it. Heartworm prevention medications are available in several forms, including chewable pills, topicals, and injectable medications.
The American Heartworm Society advocates keeping your canine companion on a heartworm medication year-round, even when mosquitos aren't widespread. Annual heartworm testing is crucial for dogs, too — even those on heartworm preventatives. While preventatives are extremely effective, it is still possible for a dog to become infected with heartworm disease. Annual testing allows vets to begin treatment immediately if heartworms are detected.
Heartworm Prevention in Aspen Hill
When your fur baby needs effective heartworm prevention in Aspen Hill, we can help. Our team will help you decide which medication is most suitable for your beloved pet and perform testing to help your canine companion live a long, healthy, and heartworm-free life. Reach out to us today to schedule your furry friend's appointment.