A healthy heart is key to a long, healthy life, but without constant protection, your pet’s heart could be at risk. Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states but is especially a concern in Florida, where the landscape and weather are particularly mosquito-friendly. One bite from a mosquito may be all it takes to infect your pet, and if not detected and treated quickly, heartworm disease can be fatal. At Arbor Pet Hospital in Wilton Manors, we offer heartworm testing and various heartworm preventatives to keep pets healthy and safe. Call us today at (954) 565-1896.
How Heartworm Disease is Spread
The average heartworm life cycle typically follows this path:
- A female mosquito bites an animal infected with heartworm.
- While the mosquito feeds on the animal, they ingest the microfilariae (tiny, thread-like larvae).
- Within 2 weeks, the microfilariae mature into infective larvae in the mosquito.
- The female mosquito than bites a non-infected animal, transferring the larvae to their new host.
- Once heartworm larvae are transmitted to your pet, they travel to the heart and lungs, which may take several months.
- Adult heartworms can live for several years inside your pet, propagating and doing damage to the surrounding organs.
Signs of Infection
Pets that are infected with heartworm disease usually show these signs:
- Chronic dry coughing
- Labored breathing
- Weight loss
Why is Heartworm Deadly?
As their numbers grow, heartworms block the major arteries leading to the heart and lungs, inhibiting blood flow and forcing the organs to work much harder. Treating heartworm disease even in its less severe stage is expensive, takes time, and can be very stressful for your pet. Furthermore, treatment does not guarantee that your pet will recover 100 percent. They could spend the rest of their life living with problems left over from their infection.
There is currently no heartworm treatment available for cats.
Prevention Made Easy
Heartworm disease is a very real threat, but it can be effectively prevented. Talk to our team about the heartworm preventatives we offer and which ones we think might be best for your pet’s needs. Dogs and cats alike should be receiving heartworm preventatives throughout the year for optimal protection. Call (954) 565-1896 so we can help!