Protect Your Pet During Heartworm Awareness Month in April
Although mosquitos are active all year long in Tucson, April marks the beginning of mosquito season in many U.S. climates, making it the perfect time to raise awareness about a dangerous pet parasite during Heartworm Awareness Month.
What Are Heartworms?
Heartworm is a kind of parasite that can affect a range of mammals, including dogs and cats. Heartworm larvae are transferred to pets through the sting of an infected mosquito. Once heartworm larvae are introduced into a pet’s bloodstream, they travel throughout the pet’s body. Once the larvae reach the pet’s heart and lungs, they take up residence. Heartworms can grow to be up to a foot long, and pets can often be infected with more than a hundred at a time.
What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease refers to the symptoms caused in cats and dogs by heartworms. As the parasites accumulate in a pet’s heart and lungs, they often cause heart failure and severe lung disease, in addition to damaging other organs throughout the body.
Heartworm Disease in Dogs vs. Cats
Dogs are natural hosts of heartworms, meaning the parasites can live out a complete lifecycle in their systems, maturing and reproducing in a dog’s body. As a result, heartworm disease is usually much more severe in dogs than it is in cats. For dogs, heartworm is usually fatal if left untreated.
While the effects of heartworms in dogs, felines can still get heartworm disease. Cats are an atypical host for heartworm. As a result, most larvae don’t reach full maturity in a cat’s body. Although not as severe, heartworm disease in cats can cause respiratory problems like coughing and trouble breathing.
Treatment and Prevention
No heartworm treatment exists for cats, and the treatment for dogs is lengthy and often unsuccessful. As a result, heartworm prevention with tablets or injections is always recommended.
Protect Your Pet From Heartworm – Schedule an Appointment With Our Tucson Vet
April is Heartworm Awareness Month, but it’s always mosquito season in Tucson which means pets are always at risk of getting heartworms. That’s why our veterinarians at Desert Paws Mobile Veterinary Care recommend keeping pets on a year-round heartworm preventative.
If you have yet to protect your pets from heartworm disease, we recommend scheduling an appointment right away. Desert Paws Mobile Veterinary Care in Tucson will bring heartworm protection to your doorstep. We’ll first perform a quick blood test to screen your pet for signs of heartworm. Once the lab test results come back clear, we’ll help you determine the best heartworm preventative for your pet.