What is Heartworm?
Heartworm is a life-threatening parasite contracted through mosquito bites. These parasitic roundworms reside in the lungs and if left untreated, spread to the heart. Early symptoms include coughing and exhaustion, especially when exercising. Rarely, the roundworms get lost within the host and spread to other parts of the body, causing blindness, immobility, or seizures. Without treatment, roundworms build up in the lungs and heart, causing a pet to cough up blood, faint, and lose significant weight. It eventually results in congestive heart failure.
How is Heartworm prevented?
Heartworm prevention is routinely given to a puppy/dog throughout mosquito season each year, for the extent of their life. A routine Heartworm test is performed at the 1 year exam and yearly thereafter. This simple test only requires a couple drops of blood and results are available within 10 minutes. If the test is negative, the dog will be put on monthly prevention (either a pill or topical treatment on the skin) from June through November. If the Heartworm test is positive, treatment is implemented.