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The Importance of Heartworm Prevention For Dogs & Cats

A Life-Saving Step For Your Pet

What if we told you that you could prevent your pet from heart failure, excess fluid in the abdomen, fatigue and potentially an early death with just one pill a month or, even 1 injection per year? Heartworm prevention is a life-saving treatment that protects your pet from the difficult and sometimes fatal disease. Read more about what heartworm disease is, the symptoms and why it’s important to have a strict heartworm prevention schedule below.

What is Heartworm Disease? 

Vet holding dog, who is about to give heartworm treatment

Heartworm disease is when a parasitic worm is living on the right side of the heart and in the pulmonary artery, which is caused by the bite of a mosquito. All mammals are susceptible to heartworm disease, and the illness is found in all 50 states but is more common in Southern states (such as North Carolina). When a pet contracts heartworm, the recovery process is slow and difficult, so prevention is the best way to ensure your pet (and you) don’t have to suffer through it. 

Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs & Cats

One of the many misunderstood pieces of heartworm in pets is that the symptoms of dogs and cats are similar. They do share some of the same side effects, but many vary. Look below to see the difference: 

Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs

  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent cough (usually dry)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swollen abdomen

Heartworm Symptoms in Cats

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing and gagging
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

3 Types of Heartworm Prevention for Dogs and Cats

There are many different options for heartworm prevention that can fit your schedule and your pet’s unique needs. Here are the top 3:

  • Topical: A gel that is applied to the back of your pet’s neck and is absorbed
  • Oral: A chewable pill that is given monthly
  • Prevention shot: Injectable heartworm medication that is administered under the skin once yearly

Have Questions About Heartworm Prevention?

If you have any questions about heartworm prevention for your pet, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Care First Animal Hospital today!

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