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Heartworms have been a pervasive problem for decades, causing a lot of suffering for both cats and dogs. These nasty parasites affect not only animals but also people, as they may pass from pet to pet, or even to humans. Heartworms are just as nasty as they sound and in this article we will discuss what they are, the dangers they pose, how to prevent them, and how to treat them if necessary.

What are Heartworms?

Heartworms are parasites that live inside the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of cats and dogs. They are transmitted through mosquito bites and may even be passed from an infected pet to a non-infected one. These parasitic worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, making them a serious hazard for any pet or person they inhabit.

Symptoms of Heartworms

The symptoms of heartworms vary depending on the severity of the infestation. Some of the most common signs include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, and exercise intolerance. In severe cases, fluid can accumulate around the heart and lungs, leading to serious problems such as heart failure or severe lung damage.

Preventing Heartworms

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent heartworm infection in your pet. Using medications like Interceptor and using methods such as keeping your pet away from mosquito-prone areas, can be very effective in preventing infection.

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Testing for Heartworms

It is important to have your pet tested for heartworms at least once a year as part of routine examinations. The test can be done through a blood sample or through an x-ray of the pet’s chest.

Treating Heartworms

If your pet does become infected with heartworms, there are several treatments available. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatments can involve both oral and injectable medications, as well as surgery in severe cases.

People Also Ask

What are the signs of heartworm in dogs?

Common signs of heartworm in dogs include coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, weight loss, and exercise intolerance.

Should all dogs be tested for heartworm?

Yes, it is recommended that all dogs be tested for heartworm at least once a year as part of routine examinations.

Can cats get heartworm?

Yes, cats can also get heartworm. Cats are more resistant to heartworm than dogs and symptoms may not be as severe, however it is still important to have them tested.

How long does it take for heartworms to kill a dog?

If left untreated, heartworms can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs. In extreme cases, heartworm infection can be fatal.

Are heartworms contagious from dog to dog?

Yes, heartworms can be passed from one pet to another through mosquito bites.

Final Words

Heartworms are a serious and potentially fatal problem for cats and dogs, as well as humans. It is important to be aware of the symptoms, and to take steps to prevent and treat them if necessary. By knowing the dangers of heartworms and taking the right precautions, you can keep your pet safe and healthy.