What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is spread by mosquitos. This parasite affects cats and dogs, but is more commonly seen in dogs. Heartworm protection should never be overlooked and should commence from when they are a yound animal.

How is it spread?

The heartworm parasite is spread when a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites your pet and these larval stages of the parasite are then injected under the skin. Heartworm then grows in your pet’s organs until they reach adult stages and then migrate to the heart and blood vessels in the lungs. Here the adult heartworm will breed, producing microfilaria or baby heartworms in the blood stream. Mosquitos will then draw up this microfilaria when they bite your pet completing the cycle and spreading this parasite to the next pet.

The heartworm lifecycle is 5-6months

Can heartworm be treated?

Heartworm can be deadly in its adult stages as the worms make residence in your pet’s vital organs including the heart and lungs. Treatment is possible but often unsuccessful, resulting in allergic reactions to the immiticide used to kill them or difficulties during surgical removal of the worms.

Is your pet protected against Heartworm?

To ensure that your pet is adequately protected against this potentially deadly parasite please call our friendly team or come in and speak to our friendly team of Vets and Nurses at one of our three locations.

How do I know if my pet has heartworm?

Signs that your pet may have heartworm may include; exhaustion, coughing, lethargy, and heart failure. Heartworm may go undetected for many years in your pet and so the only sure way of protecting your pet is through prevention.

If you are concerned that your pet may have heartworm or you have not had your pet on a heartworm preventative for over 6 months we recommend a blood test. Blood tests can be performed in clinic while you wait and are very accurate. Note, due to the long lifecycle of this parasite your pet may need to return for repeat testing before given the all clear.

Is there a preventative?

There have been significant advances in the prevention of heartworm over the last 10 -20 years, gone are the days were you need to tablet your pet daily to ensure prevention. WellPet Vets have a range of heartworm preventatives both in convenient monthy chews or top spots, or a yearly injection called Proheart. This convenient yearly injection can be administered starting from as young as 12 weeks of age and once an adult, continued yearly for life.

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