Heartworm disease is an illness that could seriously harm your dog. It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes that bite your dog. The heartworm larvae migrate from the skin through the tissue and into the bloodstream. The disease can already be in its advanced stage once signs appear. Here in Arizona, we don’t have a specific mosquito season, so it is possible for your dog to contract the disease at any time of year.
Heartworms spend most of their lives in the right side of the heart and the large blood vessels that are connected to the lungs and heart. The worms can block the heart and blood vessels and can potentially grow up to 12 inches long. As the disease progresses, it can damage the heart, lungs or kidneys and could become severe, even fatal.
Some signs that your dog may have Heartworm disease include coughing, lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. However, these signs will not occur until late in the disease process. Cats typically are more resistant to heartworm disease, and if they do get heartworm they usually only contract one worm that dies off over time. Heartworm prevention is generally not necessary for cats in our state.
It is important to get your dog tested for Heartworm disease before starting them on any prevention. Annual testing is always recommended, even when your dog is taking a preventative because there can occasionally be prevention failures or missed doses, and heartworm disease doesn’t show symptoms right away.
Dr. Bashaw prefers to use the heartworm preventative Heartgard. Heartgard is given monthly and prevents heartworm disease by killing any larval worms transmitted into your dog by a mosquito during the previous month. Heartgard is prescribed depending on your pet’s weight. It is offered in 3 different sizes; 0 to 25 pounds, 26 to 50 pounds and 51 to 100 pounds. If your dog is over 100 pounds, you can combine the correct Heartgard weights to add up to your dog’s weight.
Until the end of the year, Heartgard is offering a special rebate of $12.00 when you purchase a FULL YEAR of the same size Heartgard. The hospital staff is more than happy to fill out the form and submit it for the rebate.
Call us at (480) 837-0800 if you would like to schedule your pet for a Heartworm test and find out more information about Heartgard.
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16765 East Parkview Avenue
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
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