As difficult and unpleasant as it may be to imagine your beloved pet's body invaded by parasitic worms, these creatures can cause serious illness in cats. dogs, and other animals. Of the various worms that can wreak havoc on your pet's health, heartworms are perhaps the most dreaded. Fortunately, you can save your pet from these deadly parasites through the heartworm prevention and treatment options available at Amigo Animal Hospital in Westminster.
What Pet Owners Should Know About Heartworm
Heartworms enter an animal's body in their immature form, injected into the bloodstream by infected mosquitoes. They quickly take up residence in the lungs and heart, growing into long, thin adult worms. they thrive particularly well in dogs, who may end up hosting hundreds of worms at a time. Cats make fewer ideal hosts, with only a few worms establishing a presence.
The effects of heartworm infestation can be devastating. In dogs, the worms' continued growth affects heart and lung function, resulting in fatigue, poor exercise tolerance, coughing, heart failure, and breathing problems. These issues eventually prove fatal. The effects on cats can be less predictable. Many cats develop a chronic problem called heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD). Other cats may seem perfectly well only to die suddenly, the result of an internal heartworm dying and triggering a severe toxic reaction.
Dogs and cats are not the only popular pets that can get heartworm. Ferrets can develop this infestation as well, with effects that resemble those seen in dogs and cats.
Smart Preventative Strategies and Skilled Heartworm Treatment
Preventing heartworm can spare your pet the need to undergo heartworm treatment. Thankfully, our skilled veterinarian can make this a simple matter by prescribing medications that kill the immature worms before they can cause trouble. These medications are usually administered in pill or topical form once a month without fail. (Even a tiny gap in protection could give the worms a chance to thrive.) Injectable medications are also an option.
Once your pet develops heartworm, treatment can prove a tricky prospect. Our veterinarian can treat dogs with a series of injections that kills the worms. However, this medication poses too many dangers for cats and ferrets. These animals must either manage to pass the worms safely or undergo surgery to remove the worms. Otherwise, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms.
Call Amigo Animal Hospital Today
Do not let your Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, or Westminster pet fall prey to the ravages of heartworm infestation. Call Amigo Animal Hospital at (714) 894-5558 to schedule the necessary care!