Heartworms are pesky parasites that your pet can get from mosquitoes. Basically, it is a long slender worm that can grow up to 12 inches long. They are known to infect cats, ferrets and man’s best friend. The worms like to live in the right side of a pet’s heart and can cause damage to the heart and lungs, sometimes before your pet even shows symptoms of the disease.
Luckily you can prevent this disease with injectable or topical treatments and or a pill once a month. I tend to use the topical, as I think they provide fewer side effects than the shots or pills. If you are going to go the shot or pill route, you will need to contact your vet. Most of them will do a blood test to make sure your pet is free of the disease before prescribing any form of them.
If your pet has heartworms, symptoms include coughing, fainting, excessive panting, chronic vomiting and he or she may not tolerate long walks without tiring easily. Outdoor pets are more at risk of mosquito bites but any pet anywhere can get a mosquito bite — even indoors. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito, so no pet is completely safe. Heartworm is more dangerous in cats and ferrets, as they are harder to treat.
You should have your vet test for your pet for heartworm every 6 months just to be safe. The earlier the disease is caught, the safer the treatment is for your pet. It is just a simple blood test. If your pet tests positive, additional tests may be needed to determine how bad the infection is. Your pet deserves a long and healthy life help your best friend live longer and get them tested.