Heartworm is likely the most infamous dog parasite, and for good reason: It can be fatal to your pet. As its name implies, it often infests the heart, and hundreds of worms can collect there and grow until the heart can no longer beat. What is less known is that it also infests the lungs, causing respiratory distress, overall poor health, and eventually death.
Prevention is the key to keeping your pet safe from heartworm. This involves taking your dog to a veterinarian to be checked for the worm and its larvae via a simple blood test. If none are found, preventive medicine is prescribed. This keeps infestations from happening.
Modern heartworm medications often use ingredients that prevent other internal parasites, such as hookworms and roundworms, from infesting the treated animal. This makes wide-spectrum protection easy to obtain and administer.
Do Cats Get Heartworm?
Heartworm in cats is very rare. Dogs are the primary pet species infected. Therefore, it is rare to give cats anti-heartworm meds. That said, cats do get a wide variety of worms, so protection against the other internal parasites is highly recommended.
Treating Established Parasite Infestations
Veterinary hospitals see plenty of cases of dogs and cats with internal parasites like worms, so they have extensive experience with treating them. For worms other than heartworms, a stool test is usually used to find out if an infestation is present and what kind of worms are involved. Then, a wormer is prescribed to eliminate them. This often involves between one and three days’ worth of treatment, followed by a non-treatment period, and then another treatment period. The infestation will typically be cleared at this point.
For heartworms, the process is trickier and can be more expensive. That’s because killing all of the worms at once can lead to the bodies causing deadly clogs in the blood vessels. Therefore, treatment must be done so that the worms are killed off with just the right timing.
Contact Our Local Veterinarian Today to Treat Heartworm and Other Parasites
To get your dog or cat tested for parasites, just give us a call here at Lakeview Pet Hospital in Oklahoma City. We’ll test your companion and then provide any required treatment.