Heartworm disease is a grave threat, especially for dogs. That said, heartworm disease can also affect cats. In some rare cases, even humans can contract heartworms. Fortunately, you can protect your cats and dogs from heartworm disease. Prevention is always preferred, but treatment options are available if your pet has already been affected by heartworms. Our veterinarians at Friendly Animal Hospital in Huntington Beach can help with a variety of pests including heartworms, ticks, and fleas.
Heartworm Disease Explained
Heartworm disease is caused by parasitic worms called Dirofilaria immitis. These worms are transferred by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are an intermediate host, meaning the worms essentially use them only to hitch a ride. Dogs and other pets are the definitive hosts, meaning the worms make themselves at home and start to reproduce.
The worms will reproduce and may eventually clog your pet's cardiovascular system. Pets suffering from heartworm disease are often lethargic, suffer weight loss, and experience a loss of appetite. Your dog or cat may also experience a swollen belly.
When it comes to heartworm treatment, prevention is the best method. Fortunately, veterinarians can use oral medications to prevent heartworms from making a home in your pet. If heartworms are already present in your dog or cat, different medications can be used to kill them. If the heartworms are not caught early, however, more extensive forms of treatment may be needed. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. In the late stages, heartworm disease often proves fatal.
Treating Other Pet Parasites
Heartworms are not the only pests that can infest your pet. Sadly, pets are prone to several parasites, especially without proper treatment. Fleas and ticks are common problems. Fortunately, a variety of topical and oral medications can be used to prevent and kill these pests. Our veterinarians are happy to provide a few recommendations as to which products will work best to keep your furry friends safe.
Get Heartworm Prevention & Treatment in Huntington Beach, CA
If your pet needs heartworm treatment or tick prevention, call our team at Friendly Animal Hospital today at (714) 845-5722 to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians.