HEARTWORM DISEASE- FACTS AND PREVENTION
Dr Naomi Morgan (Dr Naomi Morgan, 2016)
Dr Naomi Morgan. (2016, 02 08). http://www.mosmanvet.com.au. Retrieved from Heartworm Disease- Facts and Prevention: http://www.mosmanvet.com.au/Blog/tabid/21948/EntryId/519/Heartworm-Disease-Facts-and-Prevention.aspx
Is your pet up to date with his or her Heart worm prevention? A recent Australian study showed infection rates of up to 2% in shelter animals. Heart worm disease is caused by a parasitic worm that lives in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary artery (main blood vessel to the lung). Prevention is mainly recommended in dogs due to a level of natural resistance in cats.
The larvae are spread by mosquitoes when they take a blood meal from your pet and take 6-7 months to develop into adult worms capable of producing their own larvae. This is important as only the larval forms are picked up on the common screening blood tests, so a blood test result may be negative for several months following infection. There may be no outward symptoms, especially in the early stages, or the pet may show signs of breathlessness, weight loss, coughing and heart failure. Treatment of established infections is difficult, risky and expensive, uses toxic drugs, and the damage to heart and lung may not fully resolve. The drugs commonly used for PREVENTION of heart worm (monthly tablets- Milbemax, annual injection- Pro Heart, or certain types of "spot on") DO NOT kill the adult worms, only prevent new infections from establishing, and must be used without a break to ensure cover is continuous. Luckily, prevention of infection is easy. If your pet is lapsed or overdue their treatment please contact our nursing and enquire if your pet is eligible for a free Heart worm Blood Test. We can discuss and recommend the treatment best suited to your pet. Call (02)9190 6925 to make an appointment today!