Heartworm Prevention and Treatment

Heartworm is a serious condition that can impair and even kill your pet. The good news is that preventing heartworm is easy and affordable. Make sure that your dog is tested for heartworm regularly with his wellness check-up and stay current on his heartworm medication as an essential part of his veterinary care.


What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is transmitted by mosquitoes. That's why it's virtually impossible to prevent your pet from being exposed to heartworm. It's not just dogs that can be affected. Although heartworm prefers canines, it can also attack ferrets and even cats. Left untreated, heartworms cause an infection in animals that can be fatal. That's why prevention is so important.

You generally can't easily tell if your pet has contracted heartworm, at least in the early stages. Dogs can live for several years with heartworm before they show any symptoms. That's why it's important to have your pet tested for heartworm as a part of his annual wellness checkup appointment. At Radford Animal Hospital, we include this test for dogs in our wellness visits. If your dog gets heartworm, treatment is much easier and gentler on your pet if it's caught early. Typically later stage heartworm symptoms in dogs include a persistent cough, an aversion to and intolerance of exercise, weight loss, and fainting. Eventually, untreated heartworm will lead to congestive heart failure.

Heartworm Treatment

There are several good products on the market, ranging from monthly doses to annual doses. Our veterinarian can help you select the medication that fits your budget and your pet's lifestyle. If you find that your pet has heartworm, it's important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Heartworm treatment is very aggressive and uses an arsenic-based medication that your dog takes over several weeks.

At the conclusion of the treatment, you'll have to keep your dog quiet and avoid any exercise until his body has absorbed the dead heartworms. Heartworm treatment has a good rate of success. However, it's not full proof and it's a difficult process for both the animal and the owner. It's far better to prevent heartworm than to treat it.

Heartworm Treatment in Radford

Heartworm is a major health risk for your pet and something that should be taken very seriously. To learn more about heartworm prevention and treatment, contact our veterinarian at (540) 639-3891. Our veterinary care staff can help you choose the heartworm medicine that's right for you and your pet. At Radford Animal Hospital, we've been helping keep pets healthy since 1955, let us do the same for yours.

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