As a pet owner, you may have heard the term “heartworm” a few times — but you may not completely understand what it means or why it’s so important to keep your pets heartworm-free. To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about heartworm.
1. What is heartworm?
Heartworm is a serious disease found in animals all over the world. It happens when foot-long worms (also known as heartworms) take up residence in an animal’s heart and lungs. This can lead to severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to many other organs. If not properly prevented or treated, heartworm can easily be fatal.
2. How do you know if your dog has heartworm?
When the disease is new, heartworm can pose few or no symptoms for dogs. However, the longer a dog has heartworm, the more obvious symptoms will become.
Symptoms of heartworm include coughing, fatigue, decreased appetite and weight loss. If heartworm continues without being treated, dogs can develop the appearance of a swollen belly. This is due to excess fluid in the abdomen and can lead to heart failure. If your dog develops labored breathing, pale gums and urine that is dark or bloody, this is the last stage of heartworm. Immediate action (usually surgery) must be taken in order to save his or her life.
3. How can you prevent heartworm in your pets?
When it comes to heartworm, prevention is key. Each pet should be on year-round heartworm prevention. Your veterinarian office usually gives you the choice of a pill, topical medication or injection. These medications are highly effective, but not 100%. That’s why, even when you give your pet his or her heartworm prevention on time all the time, it’s still absolutely vital to get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm. If he or she does test positive for heartworm, your veterinary office will take the necessary steps to effectively treat the disease.
4. How can you get your dog on a regular heartworm prevention schedule?
If you’d like to learn more about heartworm, put your dog on a regular heartworm prevention schedule or get your dog tested for heartworm, don’t hesitate to call your trusted veterinarian in Colorado Springs: Faithful Friends Animal Hospital.
Contact Us Today
For all of your pet’s heartworm needs, simply call your trusted veterinarian — Faithful Friends Animal Hospital, located at 4720 Barnes Road in Colorado Springs, Colorado — at 719-596-8544. Our veterinary experts will be happy to take a look at your furry family member. Plus, when you call us, your pet will receive a discounted first exam. We love getting new clients! We hope to hear from you soon!