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Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? We know, this isn’t the most pleasant thing to associate with April. Easter bunnies and spring flowers are much more cheerful. However, heartworms are quite dangerous, and can even be fatal. Keeping your pet protected from these disgusting parasites is very important! Here, a local East Dallas, TX vet discusses heartworms.

What Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are, as one might suspect, worms that inhabit dogs’ hearts. They can also infest Fido’s lungs and arteries. While infestations are asymptomatic and painless at first, as the worms grow, they start interfering with your furry pal’s vital organs, which can be deadly.

Symptoms

Early signs of heartworm infestations include coughing and fatigue. As the infestation progresses, your pooch may become winded very easily, and may start to cough up blood. Fido may also want not to play or exercise, and could begin to lose weight. Severe infestations can result in fainting and heart attacks.

How Do Dogs Get Infested?

Fido can’t get heartworms directly from Rover. Heartworms have enlisted one of the biggest jerks of the insect world—the mosquito—to help spread infestations. Mosquitos transmit the heartworms in larval form from dog to dog through their bites. Since mosquitos are in all 50 states, your canine pal can get infested almost anywhere, even without ever having direct contact with an infected dog.

Treatment Options

There is both good and bad news about heartworm treatments. The good news is that there are treatment options available. Unfortunately, the treatment can be costly. It can also be quite harsh on your four-legged friend, especially if he has been infested for some time. Fido may need to take some very powerful medications. He might also need to be kenneled to limit his activity. This isn’t much fun for dogs! Severe infestations can require surgery. Treatment is always offered on an individual basis, so if you know or suspect your pup has heartworms, contact your vet immediately.

Prevention

When it comes to keeping your furry best friend healthy, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. To protect your canine buddy from these dangerous parasites, all you have to do is keep up with Fido’s heartworm prevention. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about heartworms? Call us, your local East Dallas, TX pet hospital, today. We are here to help!

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