Heartworm is a parasitic worm that lives in the arteries within the lung and in the right side of the heart. The adult worms can grow quite large and can interfere with blood flow, eventually causing heart failure.
Dogs and cats can become infected via a mosquito bite (so do not even need to leave the house to become infected!) – once infected, the baby heartworm mature into full adult worms, before becoming ready to infect the next animal that the mosquito bites.
In the early stages of infection there may be no symptoms, but as time progresses and with heavy worm burdens, the pet may present with coughing, and reduced capacity to exercise. In sever cases, heartworm can be fatal.
Diagnosis of heartworm infection is usually based on a blood test.
Treating cases of heartworm is expensive and risky to the pet and involves some very strong medication and sometimes even surgery. Prevention is certainly much more effective, and affordable, than treatment.
Prevention medications include: - Monthly tablets, such as Milbemax (note: not all “all-wormers” actually prevent heartworm). - Certain monthly “spot-on” treatments, such as Advocate and Bravecto Plus - Annual heartworm injection (for dogs, not cats)
If you think you may have missed or been late with a heartworm preventative, please contact us on (02) 4925 2999, and we can establish an appropriate treatment plan.