Apr 05 2019

What is Heartworm Disease and Why Use Preventative Heartworm Medication?

Heartworm disease is a serious life-threatening disease that is caused by the presence of adult aged parasites (known as Dirofilaria immitis) in the pulmonary arteries, arteries of the lung and right ventricle of the heart. This is a serious disease that can affect the heart, lungs, liver, kidney, eyes, central nervous system, and cause death.

How does my dog or cat get heartworms?

Source: American Heartworm Society

Step One:
Mosquito Bite
When a mosquito bites, it injects the mircofilaria (small worms) into the pet.
Step Two:
Over the course of about 6 months the small worms migrate under the pet’s skin and into their bloodstream heading to the heart.
Step Three:
Adult worms can live in the pet’s heart for seven years and eventually mate releasing small worms into the bloodstream.


Cats and Heartworms

It is important to note that cats experience heartworm disease a little differently than dogs. When a cat is infected with heartworms it is unlikely that the worms will survive into adulthood; as a result,  heartworm disease often goes undiagnosed in cats. Even with no adult worms serious damage can be caused leading to heartworm associated respiratory disease. Additionally, the medications commonly used to treat heartworm disease cannot be used on cats. In essence, prevention is the only method to protect cats from this serious condition.

Signs of Heartworm Disease:

  • Cough
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Fainting Spells
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss

Treatment of Heartworm Disease and Side Effects

Heartworm treatment, while critical to a patient’s long term well being, is dangerous and can cause complications such as secondary infections, blood clot formation, fever, cough, and even death. Treatment includes a series of intramuscular injections, hospitalization, and strict confinement to limit exercise for weeks.

Even after your pet has been successfully treated for a heartworm disease, the infection itself has caused irreversible damage to your pet’s heart and lungs  therefore, affecting your pet’s lifelong health.

The Cost of Heartworm Prevention VS the Cost of One Heartworm Treatment

Heartworm Prevention
Weight of Pet12 Month Supply10 Years Supply
25 pounds or less$51.60$510.60
25 to 50 pounds$69.00$690.00
51 to 100 pounds$81.60$816.00
101 to 125 pounds$133.20$1,332.00
126 to 150 pounds$150.60$1,506.00

**Prices do not reflect any rebates

Heartworm Treatment
Weight of PetCost of Treatment for ONE Infection
44 pounds or less$1,238.00
45 to 88 pounds$1,337.00
89 to 132 pounds$1,439.00
133 to 154 pounds$1,538.00

Here at Pinellas Animal Hospital we take the preventative approach to our providing the best care for our clients and cannot stress enough the benefits to beginning heartworm prevention medication today. To discuss the prevention options available for your pet, call us at 727-346-0005 to schedule an appointment.

feldhakeg | Pet Health

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Saturday8:00am – 4:00pm

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