Heartworm disease cases are very common in warm climates like Baton Rouge where mosquitoes tend to thrive. When an infected mosquito bites a healthy animal, it passes the parasite to the animal. The parasite then enters the animal’s bloodstream and begins 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?
Initially, many pets do not show outward signs that they are suffering from heartworms. After a period of several months, as the infection progresses, you may see indications that your dog may be suffering from heartworm disease. These indications include decreased appetite, weight loss, coughing, and fatigue.
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 is critical to minimize your dog’s exercise for 4-6 weeks to enable healing.
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.