Heartworms are parasites that inhabit the hearts and lungs of infected dogs and cats. Heartworm disease can cause serious health problems, and may eventually lead to heart failure and death.
Heartworm infection is transmitted by mosquitoes. In warmer areas of the country, mainly the south, the risk of heartworm infection is year round. The prevalence of this deadly disease has increased steadily since it was first identified, and it now affects pets in all 50 states.
Signs of heartworm disease in dogs includes coughing, difficulty breathing, sluggishness and reduced ability to exercise. While these symptoms may be the sign of something else, your veterinarian can perform a in-house blood test to determine if you dog has heartworms.
While treatable in dogs, heartworm disease treatment is expensive and not without risk to the pet. Prevention is the safe, effective way to combat the disease. There are also monthly pills and topical liquids that prevent heartworms. To the delight of many dog owners, there is now even an injectable heartworm prevention where one dose lasts for six months (SEE HOT PRODUCTS SECTION). All of these products of course cost money, but are a bargain compared to expense and health risks of treating heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease in cats has now been identified in over 30 states. Feline heartworm disease presents a different set of considerations. There is no treatment for heartworms in cats so prevention is extremely important for felines. The most popular product for heartworm prevention in cats is a topical liquid that is applied to their skin (SEE HOT PRODUCTS SECTION). The thought of having to force a pill down their cat's throat every month kept many pet owners away from protecting their cat.
Don't gamble with you pet's health. Contact your veterinarian to have your pet tested today and start them on prevention and a long and healthy life.
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