Heartworm disease is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes. This disease can be spread to both dogs and cats. Many heartworms begin their lives in wild animals such as foxes and coyotes which are common in Michigan and many other parts of the country. There have been cases of heartworm positive pets in all 50 United States. This means that even in Alaska with their extremely low temperatures, pets are still at risk to contract heartworm disease.
While heartworm can be treated in dogs, there is no current treatment for cats who develop heartworm disease. Heartworm in dogs is treated with a product called Immiticide which contains arsenic. In clinical trials, Immiticide has been proven to be effective in the treatment of heartworms in dogs, but damage caused by the worms is irreversible. This means, after the heartworm infestation has been taken care of, dogs may still suffer from complications lifelong.
Contrary to what their name might suggest, heartworms can effect more than just an animal’s heart. In many cases of heartworm infestation, the pets kidneys, liver, and lungs are affected and damaged by the parasites. Blood vessels also tend to be affected by the worms due to inflammation and blockages they cause.
As a result of these facts, it is recommended and highly encouraged to keep pets on heartworm preventative year round. By preventing an infection, pets can be saved the pain and suffering involved in treating a heartworm infection. Call the Animal Clinic of Pinckney today to discuss the right heartworm preventative for your pet.