Heartworms are passed to your dog or cat through mosquito bites. However, mosquitoes can live throughout most of the year here in Missouri. This is why it's important to maintain heartworm preventative care all throughout the year. Heartworm medication is a vital part of routine pet care. That's why our team at Farview Veterinary Hospital is here to help.
What Are the Symptoms of Heartworm?
There are four stages of heartworm disease in dogs:
- Stage One: The first symptom of heartworm is a persistent cough.
- Stage Two: Your dog will not only cough but will tire out rapidly and not want to play.
- Stage Three: Your dog will cough, be tired all of the time and have trouble breathing.
- Stage Four: If your dog has reached Stage Four, he or she will soon die from organ damage. Occasionally, surgery to remove the worms can save the dog, but mostly once a dog reaches Stage Four, he or she does not have long to live.
Heartworm disease has fewer symptoms and stages in cats. They start having problems breathing and sometimes vomit more than usual. Tests are needed from our vets to make sure this is heartworm and not bronchitis or asthma.
How Long Does It Take for Heartworms to Harm My Pet?
Heartworms can live up to seven years, so the first stages come on slowly. This makes it easy to ignore. Pet owners might think that their pet normally coughs and is tiring out due to age. Do not put off heartworm treatment. Although they do not cause immediate effects as fleas or ticks do, heartworms are just as serious as a flea or tick infestation.
Does My Pet Just Need Heartworm Prevention Medication?
Heartworm preventative medication like chewable tablets kills just the heartworm larvae swimming in your pet's bloodstream. It will not kill any adults living in the heart or other organs. This is why your vet will insist on testing your pet's blood to check for the presence of adults and larvae. Your pet may need to be treated for the adults instead of the larvae. It's good to get these tests when you bring your pet in for annual vaccinations or when you pick up flea and tick prevention medications as an easier way of remembering.
Contact Us for Pet Care from Our Veterinary Office in Independence
If you still have questions about heartworm preventative care that have not been answered here and live in the greater Independence area, feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment at (816) 257-5454. We have an online pharmacy to help get your pet the right heartworm, flea, and tick prevention treatments your pet needs. Free shipping is available on many veterinary products. Contact us today to learn more bout how we can help you and your animal.