Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Preventing Heartworm Disease in Pets

Preventing Heartworm Disease in Pets

Prevention is key when it comes to heartworm! Today, our South Wilton vets explain how heartworm disease can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and even death in pets. Heartworm disease is most often found in dogs, cats, and ferrets. 

What Is Heartworm?

Heartworm disease is primarily caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis which is spread through the bite of a mosquito.

Dogs, cats, and ferrets can become this parasite's 'definitive host' after being bitten by an infected mosquito.  This means that while living inside your pet, the worms mature, mate and produce offspring.

We call this condition heartworm disease because the worms live within the blood vessels, lungs, and hearts of infected pets.

What Are the Symptoms Of Heartworm Disease?

There are no visible signs of heartworm until the disease has severely progressed.

Once the condition has progressed the most common symptoms of heartworm disease include weight loss, fatigue, swollen abdomen, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

How Does The Vet Check My Pet For Heartworms?

Your veterinarian can detect the presence of heartworm through blood tests done at the vet's office. The vet will examine your pet's blood for signs of antigens produced by heartworms.

These antigens can be detected approximately 5 months after your pet has been bitten by an infected mosquito, but not before. 

What If My Pet Is Diagnosed With Heartworms?

Heartworm treatment can be toxic and cause serious complications for your pet.

Treatment for heartworm disease is also expensive because it requires multiple trips to the vet, a series of injections, bloodwork, x-rays, and hospitalization.

That's why our South Wilton vets tell our clients that the best treatment for heartworm disease is prevention!

If your pet is diagnosed with heartworm disease, there are treatment options available.

Melarsomine dihydrochloride is an FDA-approved arsenic-containing drug that kills adult heartworms in pets. To treat heartworm, melarsomine dihydrochloride is injected into the back muscles of the infected pet.

Topical solutions are also available from your vet to treat parasites detected in the bloodstream. 

How Can I Prevent My Pet From Getting Heartworm Disease?

The best way to prevent heartworm disease is by keeping your pet on preventive medication.

Our vets also recommend that all dogs be tested yearly for heartworm, even if they're already on preventive heartworm medication.

The fact is, heartworm disease prevention is safer, easier, and much more affordable than treating the progressed condition! A bonus of some heartworm preventive medications is that they can also help protect against other parasites such as hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms.

If it is time for your pet's preventative vaccinations, contact our South Wilton Veterinary Group, vet, today for an appointment.

Preventing Heartworm in Pets, South Wilton Vet

Looking for a vet in South Wilton?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Related Articles   View All

Understanding Blood Tests for Dogs

Dogs and cats often require diagnostic blood tests to reveal vital health information when they need emergency or specialty veterinary care. In this post, our veterinarians at South Wilton explain the significance of these tests for pets.

What Are the Symptoms of a Spider Bite on a Dog?

Spiders would rather hide from you and your pet than bite, but spider bites do occur on occasion. In some cases, the spider bites our South Wilton vets see on dogs cause serious symptoms that necessitate immediate medical attention; however, most spider bites on dogs cause minor irritation but are generally harmless. Learn more about spider bites on dogs in the sections below.

How Long Does Spaying Take?

Spaying your female pet is a great way to prevent unwanted litters of kittens or puppies. It can also help deter unwanted behaviors and protect your pet from some serious forms of cancer. Here, our South Wilton vets explain more about the spaying process.

Routine Vet Exams - Why Are Regular Veterinary Checkups Important?

During a routine exam, your veterinarian will check your pet regularly for symptoms of illness, internal health issues and other serious conditions that may need to be addressed. Here, our vets in South Wilton explain why regularly scheduled veterinary checkups are so important.

South Wilton Vet

Looking for a vet in South Wilton?

We're always thrilled to welcome new patients into our veterinary family! Contact us today to get started.

Request Appointment

Book Online (203) 762-2002