National Heartworm Awareness Month is a campaign that aims to raise awareness about the risks of heartworm disease in pets. It helps pet owners to educate themselves on the importance of prevention & treatment to keep their pets safe and healthy.
What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease caused by heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis), which are transmitted by mosquitoes. The foot-long heartworms live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of the affected pet. The presence of heartworms in your pet causes severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body.
How is Heartworm Disease Transmitted?
Heartworm disease is a vector-borne disease caused by mosquitoes. When a mosquito feeds on an infected animal, it takes heartworm larvae in, along with the blood.
The larvae develop and mature inside the mosquito for 10 to 30 days, after which they can infect a new host. The infected mosquito then injects heartworm-larvae into the skin of a healthy-host, and migrates to the heart and lungs to grow into adult worms.
Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long and live for several years in the host’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels, causing damage and inflammation.
What are the Symptoms of Heartworm?
The symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs can vary depending on the severity of the disease and the stage at which it is diagnosed. Some common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Decreased appetite
- Respiratory problems
- Bulging chest
- Swollen abdomen
- Dull skin
If you suspect that your pet may have heartworm disease, to take them to a veterinarian immediately for the diagnosis and treatment.
How to Prevent Heartworms in Pets?
Prevention of heartworm infection is always better than treatment, and there are several safe and effective heartworm preventative treatments available for pets. Some of them include:
1. Heartgard Plus:
Heartgard Plus is one of the most widely used heartworm preventatives on the market. It is a chewable that prevents heartworms in dogs by destroying heartworm larvae and preventing them from growing into adult heartworms.
2. NexGard Spectra:
It is simple to prevent heartworms in dogs with NexGard Spectra. It comes in the form of a tasty beef-flavored soft chewable that provides monthly protection to dogs against heartworm in a single chew.
3. Simparica Trio:
With a single dose of Simparica Trio, you can protect your pet against heartworms for one month. It is a highly effective treatment for the prevention of heartworms which comes in a palatable liver-flavored chewable tablet.
4. Bravecto Plus:
Bravecto Plus is a unique and effective topical spot-on solution to prevent your cats from heartworms. It provides month-long protection to your furry friend with a single application.
There are several other preventative measures that pet parents can take to protect their pets, such as;
- Regular veterinary checkups
- Maintain hygiene to prevent mosquito growth
- Test your pets for heartworm from time to time
By raising awareness about heartworm disease and preventive measures, National Heartworm Awareness Month helps to keep your pets healthy and happy. This is a great time to take the necessary steps to protect your pets from heartworm disease and encourage others to do the same.