by S.A. Smith
Has your pet recently been coughing, eating less, or being more lethargic than usual? If so, it is possible that your pet is infected with heartworms and may need immediate help and attention. Heartworms may infect a host for up to 2 years before any signs or symptoms are visible, and often when they are diagnosed it may be too late for some pets.
Heartworms are an infectious parasitic transmitted by mosquitoes that invades major organs in dogs and cats like the lungs, pulmonary arteries and heart. Heartworms grow and multiply within the pet body and can survive for up to 5 years. Heartworms cause damage and block smaller arterial vessels in your pets key organs leading to organ damage and a multitude of health complications.
The symptoms of a heartworm infestation are often difficult to recognize or may be overlooked or discounted as merely flu or cough-like symptoms. Coughing, weigh loss, lethargy, rapid heart beat, poor coat condition, diarrhea and loss of appetite are common symptoms. Treatment to rid a pet of adult heartworms is a costly vet procedure and involves exposing your pet to arsenic poisoning treatments to kill the adult heatworms – a procedure that can be fatal for aged pets or ones in deteriorating physical condition.
The best approach to dealing with the risk of heartworms is through and active prevention program. Prevention is the key to controlling and avoiding the health problems associated with these highly contagious and common parasites. A simple oral medication administered once a month is all it takes to protect your pets from the damaging effects of heartworm infestation.