In the pet calendar, the entire month of April is known as Heartworm Awareness Month. It is a month dedicated to making pet parents aware of the deadly heartworm disease that affects millions of pets every year across the globe. Heartworm mainly affects dogs, but cats too can get infected with heartworm disease. While such a disease is a serious issue, heartworm prevention is pivotal, which is why Heartworm Awareness Month came into existence.
Defining Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is a serious life-threatening disease that largely affects pets. Such a disease is caused by a parasitic worm known as Dirofilaria Immitis. Mosquitoes are the main medium for spreading heartworm disease from an affected host to a hale and hearty one. These noodle-like 14-inch long worms tend to live and breed in and around the heart and lung areas causing immense uneasiness. If not treated at the earliest, these worms can lead to problems such as heart failure, lung cancer, other organ failures, etc.
Decoding the Heartworm Signs
The signs of heartworm disease in dogs may include:
- Mild and persistent cough
- Decrease in appetite
- Labored breathing
- Pale and dull gums
- Reduction in weight
- Fatigue after moderate activity
- Dark-colored urine
- Swollen up belly
The signs of heartworm disease in cats may include:
- Periodic vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Asthma-like attacks
- Difficulty in walking
- Sudden collapse
Treating Heartworm in Cats and Dogs
Diseases like heartworm should be detected early in order to make the treatment process a lot easier. Early detection is also helpful in preventing further problems as well. While treatment for heartworm in cats and dogs can vary from pet to pet, it is important to first perform various tasks like blood tests, urine tests, proper examination, x-rays, etc. These will aid the vet to determine what type or kind of treatment will be necessary for that specific pet.
Heartworm Prevention in Pets
We all know that prevention is always better than cure and this heartworm awareness month, it is important to not only spread heartworm awareness but also make sure to prevent such a disease from affecting your furry munchkins.
Keep these preventative tips in mind and protect your pal from the dreaded heartworm infection.
- Limit your pet’s outdoor timings especially during evenings.
- Apply mosquito repellents on your pal to keep him protected from mosquito bites.
- Monthly heartworm preventatives like Heartgard Plus should be given to your pet.
- Replace your pet’s bowl of water with a fresh one from time to time because mosquitoes contaminate the water.
- Ensure your pet does not consume anything that lies around in your backyard. Also, make sure he stays far away from an ill dog or cat.
While these preventative tips do not guarantee your pet’s safety from heartworm, but it definitely minimizes the probability of your pal getting heartworm infected.
A Message to Be Taken to Heart
Last but not the least, here’s a message which should be taken to heart by all the pet parents. It takes just one mosquito bite to turn your pet’s life upside down and infect him with the deadly heartworm disease. And it being a non-specific season disease, it can affect your pet anytime during the year. So from one dog lover to another, we kindly request you to do your bit and protect your buddy from heartworm. Also, spread heartworm awareness to as far as you can and who knows, you may be the reason a dog or cat gets to live.
Happy Heartworm Awareness Month! Go spread the word!
You will also like to Know the Preventive Treatment that your pet need while suffering from heartworm disease.