The health of your pet is extremely important, and we understand that here at Dessau Veterinary Clinic in Austin, TX. Heartworm prevention and preventative pet care can go a long way in protecting the overall health and happiness of your pet.
What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a very serious and possibly fatal disease for pets. It is caused by long worms (usually anywhere from 3 to 14 inches in length) that live in the lungs and heart, as well as the associated blood vessels, of affected cats and dogs. This can lead to heart failure, severe lung disease, and damage to various other organs.
How Do Animals Get Heartworms?
Heartworms are not contagious between dogs. The mosquito, which is considered an intermediate host, is necessary for transmission to occur. Therefore, heartworm disease tends to flare up during mosquito season.
Signs of Heartworms in Dogs
Common signs of heartworm disease in dogs include:
- Mild and persistent cough
- Fatigue, especially after exercising
- Reluctance to move around
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
As the disease worsens, your dog may start to have labored breathing and a swollen stomach. Eventually, the disease can result in sudden blockages of the flow of blood as well as heart failure.
Signs of Heartworms in Cats
With cats, the signs and symptoms of heartworm disease can either be very subtle or incredibly dramatic. Some of the most common signs of heartworm disease in cats are as follows:
- Periodic vomiting
- Lack of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Asthma-like attacks
In some instances, felines may find it hard to walk, faint, have a seizure, or suffer from a buildup of fluid.
As a general rule, your vet will take blood from your pet to run in the lab. This will diagnose whether your pet has heartworms. It is possible that additional diagnostic testing at the vet clinic or animal hospital will be needed to determine whether your pet can tolerate the necessary treatment.
Suspect Heartworms in Your Pet? Contact Our Austin, TX, Veterinarian
If you have noticed any of the aforementioned signs in your dog or cat, you must give us a call today at Dessau Veterinary Clinic in Austin, TX. Our veterinarian can perform the required diagnostic testing and develop a course of treatment suited for your pet. As always, though, prevention is key, so talk to us about what steps you can take to prevent heartworm disease in your pet. Call us at (512) 339-3177 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian.