Pet Heartworm Prevention and Treatment in Rolling Meadows, IL
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition of worms residing in the heart and major blood vessels of dogs, cats, and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, and humans. Heartworm disease is present on every continent except Antarctica.
Here are some important facts:
- Heartworms are found throughout the United States and Canada. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. After ingesting blood from an infected dog, the Microfilaria (immature heartworm) is transmitted to another dog or cat when it is bitten by a mosquito.
- Heartworms occur in all breeds of dogs; large and small, short-haired and long-haired, inside dogs, and outside dogs. Heartworms also are known to infect cats.
- It takes three to six months for adult Heartworms to develop in a dog after it is bitten by an infected mosquito.
- Adult Heartworms live in the right side of the heart. They are 7-12 inches long. Heartworms impair blood circulation, resulting in damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Serious damage may occur even before outward clinical signs are detected by the pet’s owner.
- Advanced signs include difficulty breathing, coughing, tiring easily, listlessness, loss of weight, and fainting.
- Heartworms can be prevented! Arlington Park Veterinary Hospital strongly recommends the once/month heartworm preventative, which also aids in the prevention of other internal parasites.
- Routine testing by a special blood test detects heartworm antigens (proteins) in the blood. Testing for Heartworms once each year is suggested for all dogs. The earlier the detection, the more successful the administered treatment can be, and the less chance of serious side effects of the disease.
- Treatment is highly successful when the disease is detected early. The adult worms are killed with an injectable drug given in a series of injections. A few days later, the worms begin to die and are carried away by the bloodstream to the lungs, where they lodge in small blood vessels. They slowly decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months. Other injections may be required to kill the microfilaria (immature heartworms) at a later time.