Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease affecting pets in many parts of the United States. Here in Meridian, Mississippi, mosquitoes are a major factor in the spread of heartworms. The mosquitoes bite infected animals and spread the heartworm larvae when they move on and bite their next host.
These larvae can grow to be foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of infected animals. Heartworms can cause heart failure, lung disease, and damage to other organs.
There are few, if any, early signs of heartworm disease in dogs and cats. It is a serious, progressive disease, but the earlier it is detected, the better the chances that your pet will recover.
Dr. Williams will test your companion pet for heartworms using a small blood sample. If the test for your dog comes back negative, Dr. Williams will start the appropriate preventive treatment that you will need to administer year-round for the rest of his life. If your dog tests positive for heartworms, then the doctor may perform additional testing before determining a treatment plan.
Cats are not a natural host for heartworms, however, just a few can make a cat very ill. Prevention in cats is very important because there is no approved drug treatment for heartworm infection in cats. If your cat tests positive for heartworms, he can be helped with good veterinary care and a long-term management plan.