Heartworm Awareness Month

Don’t Let Your Furry Friend Fall Down The Wormhole…

…heartworm hole that is. “A foot long worm clogging up my sweet baby’s insides? No thank you”. Welcome to April, Heartworm Prevention Month!

Let’s begin by asking the question: “what is a heartworm”? Heartworms are foot long worms that infest the heart, blood vessels, and lungs of our pets. They can eventually cause lung disease and heart failure. The early warning signs that your dog/cat has heartworms can consist of the following: cough, lack of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, difficulty breathing, bulging ribs…

Now, let’s talk about how dogs and cats can get heartworms. Our fur babies can become infected with heartworms through our pesky mosquito “friends”. A mosquito ingests heartworm microfilariae (parasitic larvae, or for the common folks, infant worms) after drinking the blood of an infected animal. A mosquito then bites your fur baby, depositing microfilariae into the wound. From this point, the larvae in your babies’ tissue begin traveling to their hearts. Now, larvae begin developing into adult worms. This is when our animals become very sick. The infestation of their precious heart, pumps newly reproduced microfilariae into your baby’s bloodstream, starting the cycle completely over.

How can we keep our sweet babies from experiencing these pesky, potentially deadly worms you ask? Heartworm Prevention Medicine. This is an extremely necessary medicine here in the southeast. We all know how prevalent mosquitos are here in the south. Heartworm prevention medicines require veterinary prescriptions and are typically given monthly. Most heartworm medications can be given orally although some are topical and even fewer can be given through an injection. As previously mentioned, in the south, it’s especially important to give your animal heartworm prevention year round.

Heartworms are treatable in dogs, but PREVENTION is our best defense at keeping our dogs and cats safe. Heartworms do not thrive in cats like our dogs, but prevention is still strongly encouraged. Speak with your veterinarian today about getting your pet started on monthly heartworm prevention.

Our Opelika/Auburn viewer area relates to the phrase: “It Takes A Village”. We hope Our Loveliest Village continues to help with heartworm prevention. We can’t think of anything lovelier than that.