|Posted by petemergencyclinic on February 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM|
Heartworms is an old, ugly story that seems to be overtold. But here is some newer info that makes me want to update you.
To summarize, heartworms are large worms that grow in your dog's (and your cat's) heart. The worms are spread by mosquitos from pet to pet. Heartworms are prevented by giving monthly medicine by mouth, or in some cases in a spot-on product. It is critical to give your dogs and cats medicine to prevent heartworms, because the treatment is a bit of an ordeal in dogs and is not do-able in cats.
Most common symptoms in dogs are coughing and shortness of breath. In cats it may be sudden death or an extreme asthma-like distress condition.
A new twist is this. For the past several months, veterinarians have been seeing a few heartworm-positive dogs that have been properly on prevention and yet still caught the disease. The percentage is still very low, but it reminds me to give you two important points to bring out now:
1. If your pet is an all-outdoor pet, it would be good to find some way to reduce exposure to mosquitos. That may be spraying the area to kill mosquitos, being certain that you have no standing stagnant water in your area, and using a flea treatment product that has mosquito repellent. (Example- Vectra- ask your veterinarian)
2) If you purchase your heartworm prevention products from your veterinarian (versus via mail-order), the manufacturer's guarantee will be in effect should the product fail. Manufactures may pay for heartworm treatment in cases in which the product has been properly purchased from a veterinarian and given correctly. Be certain when you buy it that it is posted to the correct pet, etc.
Please do not be overly concerned about this information. Generally the products are working fine. But it really shows us just why it is so key that you get and use product under the expert advice of your DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
That is all.
Thanks, Dr. John Emerson
337-562-0400 1501 W. McNeese St. Lake Charles