Vancouver Veterinary Discusses Heartworm Disease

At Atlas Animal Hospital & Emergency Vancouver, we understand that your pet is a beloved member of your family. That is why our veterinary hospital provides you with the same 24/7 affordable healthcare accessibility that you have for the other members of your family.  Also like other members of your family, heart health is extremely important and can go undetected if not properly monitored.  Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes to dogs and cats. It may take months to notice any sign of disease, while some pets never show any signs of infection. Heartworms mature and travel throughout your pet's body and when the heartworms mature, they either live in the blood vessels between the heart and lungs, or in the heart itself. Heartworms damage your pet’s vital organs and may cause death. The good news is heartworms are preventable in both dogs and cats.  However, heartworm treatment only works with dogs. Once a cat has heartworms, the disease can only be controlled with medication. 

human hand and animal paw shaped in a heart

Signs, Symptoms, and Prevention

In many pets, if heartworm signs appear, they only appear once the disease becomes advanced. Signs include coughing, breathing difficulty, and a constantly tired pet. The heartworms in your pets may grow to one foot long, and a single heartworm may be fatal to your cat. The only way to know for certain whether your dog has heartworms is to have your dog's veterinary doctor obtain a blood sample and test the blood. The American Heartworm Society recommends testing your dog each year. Diagnosing heartworm disease in cats is more difficult and may require an antibody test, a cardiac ultrasound study, or X-rays.  If your pet is not diagnosed with heartworms, prevention is the best medicine.

Heartworm Treatment

If your dog tests positive for heartworm disease, our veterinarian will explain the different heartworm treatment options. The heartworm treatment is complicated and your dog may need to be hospitalized in order to surgically remove the worms. Early diagnosis and treatment are preferred because the chance of complications increases if the disease is allowed to progress.

Contact Us in Vancouver to Schedule an Appointment Today

Atlas Animal Hospital & Emergency Vancouver has a 24-hour veterinarian available if your pet is ever in need of emergency or urgent care. Meet all of your pet's veterinary needs by visiting 5696 Fraser St in Vancouver, BC or calling us at (604) 301-0300 to schedule an appointment.

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