Heartworm Treatment & Prevention in Pasadena
Heartworms are found in every part of the United States, but the Pasadena area is a hotbed for them. These internal parasites are contracted from the bite of an infected mosquito. Once the heartworms are transferred to your pet, they lodge themselves in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs where they grow, mature, and reproduce. At Spencer Animal Hospital, we want to equip pet owners with the best in heartworm treatment and prevention.
Preventing Heartworm Disease in Dogs & Cats
The best form of heartworm treatment is prevention! Heartworm prevention is needed all year long for cats and dogs, indoor and outdoor. With proper prevention, your pet can avoid the complications of disease and your wallet can avoid the costs! Heartworm preventatives we recommend include:
- Heartgard (for dogs) – a monthly chewable tablet
- Trifexis (for dogs) – a monthly chewable tablet
- Proheart 6 (for dogs) – an injectable preventative that lasts for 6 months
- Revolution (for cats) – a monthly topical that protects against heartworms, fleas, ticks, and several intestinal parasites
Purchasing these products from your veterinarian or from a reputable online pharmacy is the only way to ensure their true efficacy and your pet’s safety. Some online pharmacies are illegitimate and sell expired medications or those that have some other malfunction. Only your veterinarian, who has examined your pet, can give you the best and safest prescription.
Signs of Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Dogs are typical hosts for heartworms and are therefore the most vulnerable. That's why we highly recommend a heartworm test with your dog’s annual (or semi-annual) wellness exam. Even one missed dose of heartworm preventative can cause your dog to become infected. Heartworm disease is difficult to detect with a test because the earliest stage of the disease reveals almost no symptoms.
Once the disease is further along, you may notice some of the following:
- A persistent cough
- Reluctance to exercise
- Easily winded
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
In later stages, your dog may have heart failure, a swollen belly, and some can even experience cardiovascular collapse, or caval syndrome, where there is a sudden blockage of blood flow within the heart.
Heartworm Treatment for Dogs
Diagnosing heartworm disease early will save your dog from further damage to their heart and lungs. Yet, even in the early stages of the disease, treating heartworm disease is not easy or cheap. It involves several steps including a series of injections, which contain a drug that will kill the adult heartworms. After a successful treatment, we will test your dog for heartworms to ensure none remain.
Signs of Heartworm Disease in Cats
Cats are atypical hosts for heartworm disease, but they can still be affected. While they may only have one to three heartworms in their system, the damage these worms can do is severe. A cat with heartworm disease can develop a condition known as heartworm associated respiratory disease (HARD). Symptoms may include:
- Asthma-like attacks
- Periodic vomiting
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
Some cats can experience seizures or fainting, difficulty walking, or, in some cases, sudden death.
Heartworm Treatment for Cats
Unfortunately, there are no treatment options available to cure heartworm disease in cats. Since cats are atypical hosts, sometimes the disease may clear up on its own, although there is a risk of lingering damage to the heart and lungs that could cause complications further down the line. For cats, the only form of heartworm treatment is prevention.