Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets. As the name suggests, the twelve-inch-long worms usually lodge in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected pets, causing lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and even, death.
Often, heartworm disease requires an expensive and lengthy regimen of blood work, x-rays, and injections for treatment. For severe cases, treatment may even compromise a pet’s respiratory system. However, if heartworm disease is diagnosed early enough, it can be treated. Our vets at Safe Harbor Animal Hospital can help you implement an effective heartworm prevention strategy for all your pets in Pensacola, Florida.
Common Questions Regarding Heartworm
How does my pet get heartworm?
One bite from an infected mosquito is all it takes to infect your pet with the larval form of the heartworm parasite. Mosquitos then transmit the disease from one animal to the next. The parasites then live in the animal, producing baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. Heartworms can grow and live for 5-7 years in dogs and three years in cats.
What can I do to protect my pet?
Heartworm disease is preventable! Prevention is the safest and most cost-effective approach, but treatment is available for dogs, although costly and lengthy. Dogs should be tested annually, where cats should be tested before starting prevention and re-tested as the veterinarian deems appropriate. Unfortunately, there is NO treatment for cats.
Safe Harbor Animal Hospital has safe, effective products that cater to you and your pet's lifestyle and budget. Better yet, we provide heartworm prevention year-round with varying options on treatment intervals and dosages.
Fleas, Ticks & Intestinal Parasites
Not all parasites are obvious or visual to the naked eye. Fleas, for instance, can hide under your pet’s fur, and some ticks can be the size of a pinhead. Intestinal parasites, like roundworms, can cause diarrhea, but many infected pets don’t show any signs of illness at all. Ticks can transmit infections like Lyme disease, and fleas can transmit tapeworms and Bartonella; a bacteria that causes “cat-scratch fever” in humans.
With a preventative care exam, we can fit your pet with the appropriate medications to help control fleas, ticks, and other parasites. Parasites are both a nuisance and a danger to you and your pet, but being aware and proactive in their prevention can be the key to a healthy lifestyle for your pet. Let us help you. Call Safe Harbor Animal Hospital in Pensacola, Florida, today to start your pet on a parasite prevention and control program!