By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Nov 2, 2016
Dr. Greenway discusses general information about heartworm disease in dogs and cats including prevalence, transmission, symptoms and prevention. Other topics covered in this video include risk factors, preventive medications, seasons, mosquitoes, larvae, prevalence, conversations with your veterinarian, heartworm testing, reactions, summer months, and cost.
This is Dr. Clayton Greenway with healthcareforpets.com. Heartworm disease is something that as a veterinarian I deal with a lot and it kind of depends on where you’re from. We have heartworm disease here which is Toronto, Canada but you’re going to want to ask your vet in your area what the prevalence of heartworm is there but I’m just going to give you some general information about this. It’s mostly a problem in dogs. Cats can get it but it’s extremely, extremely rare and we don’t tend to prevent in cats. In dogs it’s something that does occur often enough to have to deal with it.
So heartworm disease is a parasitic infection. It’s a parasite that’s carried in mosquitoes and they can bite a heartworm positive dog and then bite your dog and inject that larvae of the parasite into your dog. That larvae then grows into a worm after migrating to the vessels around the heart and it will grow into a large worm and sit there in one of the great vessels around the heart creating symptoms of heart disease in your dog.
Exercise intolerance, coughing those would be the early signs and then you can have more serious signs leading all the way up to heart failure. It is a disease that a dog can have long-term and it’s very expensive to treat, it’s very difficult to treat and so in most places we prevent it and we prevent it with medication. I have to tell you when I start talking to clients about heartworm disease, I really think that this is something they talk about with other dog owners in the park and I think they talk about vets pushing the prevention and testing of heartworm a lot.
Now we have a couple other videos that talk about whether you should test for this disease in your dog and whether you should prevent the disease in your dog by using medication. I really encourage you to take a look at those. So I want you to talk to your vet first and find out if heartworm disease is a real problem in your area and then you decide about preventing it and also testing for it before preventing and watch our other videos about that because what’s most important to us is your pet’s health at healthcareforpets.com.
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