Heartworm disease in Florida is a big problem. Cats and dogs are both susceptible to heartworm disease. Due to where we live, it is recommended that your pet stay on heartworm prevention year round. Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites. When a mosquito with infected larvae bites a cat or dog, it takes 6 months for the larvae to become mature adults. The added perk to heartworm prevention is that many also prevent against various intestinal parasites. Some products have heartworm, flea, tick and intestinal parasite prevention all in one.
The hard truth about heartworm disease is that they can be very detrimental to your pet. They hang out in the heart, lungs and some blood vessels. These worms can cause lung disease, heart failure and effect other organs. Therefore, is much better to prevent than to try to treat.
In cats it generally causes respiratory disease. Many cats cough, vomit, have asthma attacks, and weight loss. As the disease progresses some cats may faint, have trouble walking and seizures. The scary thing is sometimes the first sign is sudden death or collapse. It often goes undiagnosed as cats typically only have 1-3 worms or immature worms that aren’t picked up on heartworm tests. Prevention is the only effective means, because the treatment that is used in dogs can not be used in cats.
Dogs don’t always show signs of heartworm disease in the beginning. As time goes on, dogs may develop a cough, exercise intolerance, and weight loss. Many dogs develop congestive heart failure. Some progress to something known as caval syndrome where they have a complete blockage and they collapse.
The southeast is a problem area for heartworm disease, and Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Pensacola, Milton and Pensacola Beach are all a hot spot.
We test dogs yearly at their annual exam. Since many dogs don’t have symptoms early on, this is a good screening tool to try to catch heartworm disease early. The best plan of action in both cats and dogs is PREVENTION.
Prevention options in dogs at our clinic:
We use Proheart 6 and 12 injections in dogs that last 6 or 12 months
Interceptor (heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention) – monthly oral prevention
Simparica Trio (heartworm, flea, tick and intestinal parasite prevention) – monthly oral prevention
Prevention options for cats at our clinic:
Revolution Plus (heartworm, flea, tick and intestinal parasite prevention) – monthly topical
If you want to learn more about heartworm disease in Florida, book an appointment today.
In order to purchase heartworm prevention, we must have a relationship with you and your pet within the past year and a negative heartworm test. Heartworm prevention is a prescription. To purchase heartworm, flea and tick prevention off of our website visit this link
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