Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pet Health: Heartworm Disease & Prevention

Summer has arrived early in Minnesota, which means long walks and time outdoors with our furry friends. Unfortunately this also means greater exposure to mosquitos, which can lead to health problems in dogs and cats if they are exposed to heartworm (HW), a microfilariae that develops into infected larvae when they enter the animal's bloodstream.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, "Heartworm is a preventable, but serious and potentially fatal parasite that primarily infects dogs, cats and ferrets." It is transmitted to animals through mosquito bites and can damage the blood vessels resutling in lung and heart disease.

The good news is that HW disease is both 100% preventable and treatable upon infection, prevention being the recommended approach. There are several FDA-approved prevention options available, so make sure to speak with your Vet to find the best method for you and your pet. Your vet will likely test your pet for HW disease before dispensing the preventative. Symptoms of HW and positive test results come 6 months after the initial infection so follow your Vet's recommendation for regular testing.

For more information on heartworm disease and pet health, please visit the American Veterinary Medical Associaton website.

Pet Haven tests all of its dogs and cats and provides preventative heartworm treatment during mosquito season. This is another great benefit of adopting a pet through Pet Haven!

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