Our caring doctors and staff here at Fort Mill Animal Hospital are dedicated to providing the best preventative and wellness care we can for our patients. We are in the south and as much as we love it, that means we are in an endemic area for heartworms and intestinal parasites, not mention the pesky fleas and ticks as well.
What is Heartworm?
Heartworm disease is a serious condition that stems from parasitic worms infesting the body of an animal and setting up in the heart and blood vessels. Dogs are the natural host, but heartworms can also spread to cats. Heartworms are typically spread by blood transfer via mosquito bites.
Heartworms eventually cause blockages that can greatly impair blood flow. Noticeable symptoms include decreased appetite, coughing, swollen belly, pale gums, and fatigue after moderate activity. Infestations can take six months to be detectable by testing, so if your pet has missed a dose of prevention we should retest in 6 months to make sure that he or she was not infected during that time.
Cats are not typically great hosts for heartworm, and the parasites seldom make it to the adult stage. However, even immature heartworms can lead to respiratory disease.
Our staff and doctors are happy to discuss preventatives and what works best for you and your pet. The monthly chewable is most often recommended. The one we usually recommend will also protect your pet from all the other intestinal parasites, contagious to other pets or even people.
If your pet is heartworm positive, our doctors will discuss treatment options and how soon to start based on your pet. This can be a lengthy process involving multiple visits. Restricting physical exercise and keeping your pet calm will be key in your pet’s treatment. Physical exertion increases the damage done by the worms, so it’s important to keep your pet as quiet as possible.
Schedule a Wellness Appointment Today
For more information on heartworm prevention and treatment or to schedule an appointment with us, please call Fort Mill Animal Hospital today at (803) 547-2014. You can also text us as (803) 630-3121 and we would be happy to help.