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Heartworms Kit

Hearty-Heart, Inulin-PK & Milk Thistle

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Understanding and Preventing Heartworm Disease in Pets

Vet Talks 3 min read
dog at vet clinic for heartworm disease in pets exam

Heartworm disease in pets can be very concerning for pet parents. The invasion of this mosquito-borne parasite can be life-threatening for your little one in severe cases! So it is essential to take steps to protect them from the disease.

Understanding the Threat: Causes and Symptoms

Panting irish setter dog in summer because of heartworm disease in pets

Heartworms require mosquitos to complete their lifecycle. Infected animals harbor microscopic baby worms (microfilaria) that mosquitos pick up during a blood meal. These larvae mature inside the mosquito and enter a new animal through another bite. Six months later, they transform into adult heartworms that reside in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels, causing significant damage over time.

Early detection is crucial. While initial symptoms may be mild (cough, occasional panting), as the infection progresses, pets might exhibit decreased appetite, weight loss, exercise intolerance, and eventually, heart failure. A heavy worm burden can block blood flow, leading to life-threatening situations.

Prevention is Paramount

A heavy worm burden can block blood flow, leading to life-threatening situations.

The risk of heartworm infection varies depending on the activity of mosquito vectors, with higher prevalence in humid and warm areas like the southern regions of the United States and tropical climates. Despite the disease not being widespread, all pets spending time outdoors are susceptible to infection, including indoor pets that may still encounter mosquitoes. That’s why it’s crucial to take preventive measures to safeguard your pet’s health.

Heartworm disease in pets heartworm life cycle chart illustration

Fortunately, heartworm disease in pets is preventable. Various forms of medication are available, including injections, chewable tablets, and topical spot-on treatments. Consult your veterinarian to determine the most suitable option for your pet. Generally, pups can begin prevention as early as 6 weeks old.

Treatment Options for Heartworm Disease in Pets

Annual testing is recommended even for pets on preventive medication. If your furkid tests positive, treatment will depend on the severity of the infection. Mild cases can be managed with medication, while severe cases might require surgical removal of adult worms. These treatments can be stressful on your pet’s body. Consider veterinarian-recommended supplements like NHV Hearty-Heart, NHV Turmeric, NHV PetOmega3, and NHV Milk Thistle to support their heart, immune system, and overall well-being during recovery.

Lifestyle Tips to Prevent Heartworm Disease in Pets

Spraying mosquito repellent spray on a dog

Here are some practical tips to safeguard your pet:

  • Consult your veterinarian: Discuss a preventive medication program and annual check-ups.
  • Minimize mosquito exposure: Avoid peak mosquito times (dusk and dawn) and consider mosquito repellent sprays for outdoor adventures. NHV Target Spray contains herbs like European pennyroyal and neem that helps repel bugs!
  • Schedule regular check-ups: Early detection is key to successful treatment and a full recovery.

Proactive prevention is the cornerstone of protecting your pet from heartworm disease. Consult your veterinarian before starting any preventative medication, especially for Collie and Shepherd breeds as some medications might not be suitable. Schedule regular check-ups and consider veterinarian-approved supplements to support your pet’s overall health. Remember, a happy and healthy pet is a pet protected from preventable diseases like heartworm disease!

Dr. Saisoi Khummuang, DVM

Dr. Saisoi Khummuang, DVM

Dr. Saisoi, a certified Veterinarian, graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Chiang Mai University. Her dedication to animal welfare led her to roles such as President of the Chiang Mai University Rabies Club and Co-Director of the World Animal Protection Thailand camp meeting (WSPA). After graduating, Dr. Saisoi worked as a Veterinarian at Chiang Mai Animal Hospital in 2017 and joined NHV Natural Pet Products in 2024.

Published: April 11, 2024

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