Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know that April is Heartworm Awareness Month? Heartworms pose a very serious health risk to dogs. Keeping your furry friend protected from these dangerous parasites is very important! Read on as a Diamond Bar, CA veterinarian discusses heartworms, and how to keep Fido safe from them.

Basics of Heartworms

Heartworms can infest both dogs and cats. Dogs are more often affected, however, as they are a natural host for heartworms. These nasty parasites are transmitted from infected dogs to unafflicted pups through mosquito bites. As the heartworms mature, they inhabit the dog’s lungs and hearts, interfering with critical bodily functions. Eventually, the dog’s heart, lungs, and arteries will suffer severe, potentially fatal, damage. It’s important to note that dogs of all ages and breeds are at risk, regardless of where they live. Even pooches that spend most of their time indoors can contract heartworms.

Symptoms of Heartworms

If your canine is infected, you may not notice any immediate changes in Fido’s behavior, but in time, the symptoms will start to show. Typically, by the time symptoms of a heartworm infestation appear, the heartworms are already well-established. Coughing is one common symptom. Your pet may also lose his breath easily. Some other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, and, with more severe infestations, collapse.

Treating Heartworms

While heartworms can be treated, the treatment itself can prove costly, and can be very taxing for Fido. Your canine buddy may need surgery. You may also need to restrict your pup’s activity for weeks or even months. Your four-legged friend may also need to be on medication, possibly for the rest of his life.

An Ounce of Prevention

Fortunately, it’s quite easy to protect your furry friend from heartworms. It’s definitely much easier—and cheaper—to prevent your dog from getting heartworms than it is to treat him for them! Fido should start preventative care while he is still a puppy. As long as you remember to keep up with this important aspect of your pet’s care, your canine friend will be safe. Ask your vet for specific recommendations, and for an application schedule for the parasite control products.

Do you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health? Does your pooch need heartworm prevention? We are here to help! Please reach out to us, your Diamond Bar, CA animal clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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