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Pets are susceptible to a number of different parasites throughout their lives, but one of the most insidious, serious and deadly is heartworm. Heartworm in dogs and cats progresses silently and gradually over time and can be fatal if left untreated. Heartworm symptoms can reduce quality of life for your pet and create great discomfort as it progresses.
Your Westchester veterinarian, Central Animal Hospital is highly experienced in heartworm prevention and treatment. The goal of heartworm treatment is to eliminate both immature worms and adult worms so that they will stop spreading within the pet’s body.
Heartworm moves from one infected animal to another within a complex cycle. Mosquitos are generally the carrier, and heartworms grow within the blood and organs of each infected dog or cat. Heartworms mature gradually over a few years within the heart, lungs and blood vessels of an infected animal.
Heartworms can eventually reach up to a foot in length as they wind around your pet’s internal organs. As you can imagine, the presence of these worms causes tremendous circulatory, cardiac and respiratory damage. Left untreated, an animal cannot survive a heartworm infestation.
The main signs and symptoms of heartworm are breathing problems, listlessness and lethargy that gradually get worse over time. However, some animals including cats can show few if any symptoms at all until they suddenly go into respiratory failure. While heartworm treatment and recovery is possible for dogs, unfortunately heartworm treatment for cats is much more difficult. That is why heartworm prevention is so important for all animals.
Preventative medications for heartworm should be administered as early as possible for both dogs and cats. Heartworm treatment for animals infected with heartworms is called Immiticide. It is given in a cycle of injections that takes around two months to complete. Steps may also be taken to ensure the pet’s baseline health is supported and preserved.
As you can see, heartworm is a parasite risk that is not to be taken lightly. It can greatly diminish a pet’s quality of life and in many cases be fatal if it goes undetected for too long a period of time. Heartworm grows insidiously and sometimes cause few if any symptoms in an infected pet.
This is why it is so important to have all pets checked and tested by our Scarsdale veterinarians on a yearly basis, prior to giving any heartworm preventative. We recommend heartworm preventative be given year round to kill the microfilaria (heartworm larvae) in the blood and prevent the larvae from growing to adulthood. You can easily order heartworm preventative through our online pharmacy.
Our Scarsdale veterinarians at Central Animal Hospital deliver high-quality care to all of our clients. Don’t take chances when it comes to heartworm. Have your dog or cat tested regularly to make sure they don’t fall victim to this deadly parasite.