Heartworms are a type of parasite that may infect your loyal companion. If your pet becomes infected, the worms can block their arteries and damage important organs like the heart and lungs. Heartworms generally don’t thrive in cats as much as they do in dogs. (When a dog gets infected the worms reproduce and multiply much faster than they would in cats.) Be that as it may, if heartworms are left undetected and untreated in any pet it can lead to death.
How often should my pet be tested for heartworms?
We recommend pets get tested for heartworms once every year. If your pet is in high-risk areas, our veterinarians may recommend testing them more often. Patients living in wooded areas may be tested twice within a year. To get your loyal companion tested for heartworms, please give us a call at 416-489-8387.
What are the signs of heartworms in my pet?
We strongly encourage clients to have their pets examined by a veterinarian as some symptoms of heartworm can be linked to other health problems. We perform blood tests and use other diagnostic tools to confirm the presence of heartworms. With that being said, here are some signs that may indicate your pet has heartworms:
- Persistent dry cough
- Decreased appetite
- Drastic weight loss
What treatments are available for heartworms?
We encourage preventative treatments to avoid your pet from becoming infected. Preventative medications come in the form of tablets, topical creams, and injections for both cats and dogs. If your loyal companion tests positive for heartworms there are different approaches we may take:
- For cats there is, unfortunately, no cure for the disease, it can cause respiratory illness if left undetected for too long. Our veterinarian can provide medications to control or reduce symptoms.
- In dogs, we provide medication that will rid them of the worms. We give them injections over a series of weeks or months to eradicate the infestation.