Heartworm Awareness Month: What Pet Owners Need to Know

Heartworm Awareness Month: What Pet Owners Need to Know

April is Heartworm Awareness Month, a time when veterinarians and animal welfare organizations raise awareness about this potentially deadly disease. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. It primarily affects dogs, but can also infect cats and other animals. If left untreated, heartworm disease can lead to heart failure, lung disease, and even death.


Signs and Symptoms of Heartworm Disease

Unfortunately, heartworm disease is often asymptomatic in its early stages. As the disease progresses, however, dogs may begin to exhibit the following symptoms:
Cats with heartworm disease may exhibit similar symptoms, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. However, cats are much less likely to show clinical signs of heartworm disease, which can make it difficult to diagnose.

Diagnosing and Treating Heartworm Disease

If you suspect that your pet has been infected with heartworm, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can improve your pet’s chances of recovery.
To diagnose heartworm disease, your veterinarian will perform a blood test to detect the presence of adult heartworms. In some cases, additional tests, such as X-rays or an echocardiogram, may be necessary to determine the extent of the infection.
Treatment for heartworm disease typically involves a series of injections to kill the adult worms. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, and pets must be closely monitored during and after treatment to ensure their safety. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove large clumps of worms from the heart and lungs.

Preventing Heartworm Disease

Preventing heartworm disease is much easier and less expensive than treating it. There are several preventative options available, including monthly oral or topical medications, as well as a six-month injectable medication. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about which preventative option is best for your pet, based on their age, health, and lifestyle.

Heartworm Diagnosis & Treatment At Animal Wellness Center

If you suspect that your pet has been infected with heartworm, don’t wait to seek treatment. Call Animal Wellness Center today to schedule an appointment for heartworm testing and treatment. We have 5 locations in Southeast Wisconsin, and our compassionate team of Veterinary professionals is eager to help your pets! Remember, preventing heartworm disease is the most important thing you can do for your pet’s health and well-being. Let’s work together to keep our furry friends safe and healthy!