Heartworm disease cases are continuing to rise, especially in warm climates like Baton Rouge. Immature heartworms are passed to both dogs and cats from the bite of an infected mosquito, where they enter the bloodstream and begin to mature. Without the benefit of a heartworm preventative, these heartworms will migrate through the body of the infected animal and can result in damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and even death.
What are signs that my dog may be suffering from heartworm disease?
There are numerous signs that your dog may be suffering from heartworm disease, including decreased appetite, weight loss, coughing, and fatigue. However, many pets do not show outward signs that they are suffering from heartworms.
How can I determine whether my dog has heartworm disease?
At Garden District Animal Hospital, we have accurate blood tests that can determine whether or not a canine has heartworm disease in a matter of minutes. These tests detect a protein known as an antigen that is produced by mature female heartworms and indicates whether or not a dog is infected with heartworms.
What if my dog has heartworms?
Fortunately, treatment is available in the event your canine has heartworm disease. A series of 2-3 injections of a drug created to kill adult heartworms must be administered. During this time, it will be especially significant to minimize exercise for 4-6 weeks to allow the dog to heal.
It is important to remember that heartworm prevention is always less expensive and more effective than treatment after contracting the disease. Garden District Animal Hospital offers multiple options for heartworm preventative medicine, and our experienced veterinarians will help you select one that is best for you and the lifestyle of your constant companion. If you are unsure whether your dog may have heartworm disease, call one of our caring professionals to set up a screening test today!