National Heartworm Awareness Month: Heartworm Prevention Tips
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. With warm weather and mosquito season fast approaching, there's never been a better opportunity to familiarize yourself with this potentially deadly illness and educate yourself on how you can safeguard your four-legged friend. At Colonial Animal Hospital, we supply heartworm prevention in Fort Myers and will help you give your canine companion a healthy, happy life. Read on to learn more.
What Heartworm Disease Is
Heartworm disease is caused by heartworms transmitted via mosquito bites. Once inside a suitable host, the parasites reach up to 12 inches in length and reside in the heart, blood vessels, and lungs, causing severe damage. When the disease is not treated promptly, the worms grow and reproduce continuously, which leads to further problems, such as poor general health and, often, a reduced lifespan.
The symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs include:
- Fatigue, especially after exercise
- Weight loss
- Reduced appetite
- Bloated abdomen
- Light-colored gums
- Difficulty breathing
Heartworm is not easy to treat and can cause irreversible organ damage. Preventing the disease is a much better choice than attempting to treat it. Heartworm preventatives are available in numerous forms, such as chewable pills, topicals, and injectable medications.
According to the American Heartworm Society, you should keep your dog on heartworm preventatives year-round, even when mosquitos aren't prevalent. All dogs need yearly heartworm testing, as well, even if they are on a preventative medication. While extremely effective, no preventative offers 100-percent guaranteed protection. Once-a-year testing allows vets to begin appropriate treatment immediately if heartworms are detected.
Protect Your Dog with Heartworm Prevention in Fort Myers
When your canine companion needs effective heartworm prevention in Fort Myers, we are here to help. Call today to schedule your pet's appointment with our friendly team.