Heartworms grow to be about a foot in length and multiply and invade the heart, lungs, and vascular system of pets, primarily dogs, but they can affect cats too. As these worms infect a pet, they make it difficult for your pet to breathe and can cause heart failure or damage other organs. Summit+ Dog & Cat Hospital, serving Summit, NJ, and the surrounding region, offers treatment and prevention, though!
Treatment in Dogs
Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, so it’s more common that your dog will suffer from this parasite than your cat. The worms will continue to reproduce in your dog until he or she has several hundred.
In the early stages, you may not even know your pet has heartworm because it causes little to no symptoms initially. Once it progresses, though, your pooch will experience symptoms. Fortunately, most dogs can be treated for heartworms. An injectable drug may be given to kill them. In more serious cases, your pooch may need surgery to remove them.
Throughout the course of treatment, you’ll be asked to restrict your pet’s exercise. When your pet is physically active with heartworms, it can cause an elevated rate of damage from the worms.
Treatment in Cats
Cats aren’t natural hosts for heartworms, and there’s currently no approved treatment to help them overcome an infestation.
Since heartworms only tend to live inside of a cat for two to three years, the initial course of action is usually to wait it out until the heartworms die off. During this time, our veterinarian will provide comfort measures for your feline, such as oxygen, to help him or her get through until the worms are no more.
In severe cases, our veterinarian may recommend surgical removal of the worms. However, this is reserved for cats with serious cases only because of the high rate of incidents during surgery.
Prevention Is Key
Fortunately, you can ward off heartworms and keep your pet from having to undergo surgery, experience long-term organ damage, and even have a premature death.
With that being said, your pet can take medication routinely to prevent heartworms and all the complications associated with them. We can discuss your options based on your pet’s species. Dogs can use chewable tablets, injections, or spot-on treatments. Cats may receive either a chewable tablet, spot-on treatment, or bi-yearly injection.
Quality Veterinary Care in Summit
Summit+ Dog & Cat Hospital, serving Summit, NJ, and the surrounding communities, would like you to know that we’re here to help you prevent heartworms. If these parasites should infect your pet, we’re there to help.
Contact our office at (908) 273-2200 for an appointment for prevention or if you suspect your pet may have heartworms.