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Importance of Heartworm Prevention and Treatment

Heartworm disease can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs of cats and dogs. Since they are transmitted by mosquitoes, pets living in America and most of Canada can get heartworms at any time. The good news is that heartworm prevention is easy to get from your vet. Our team at Citrus Heights Animal Hospital in Citrus Heights is dedicated to providing pets the prevention and care they need for heartworms.

How Heartworms Are Transmitted

Young heartworms called microfilaria live in the bloodstream of infected animals. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it sucks up some of the minuscule immature heartworms. Then, the mosquito flies off and bites your pet. The microfilaria leaves the mosquito and goes into your pet's bloodstream. They travel to the heart and grow.

How Heartworms Kill

Adult heartworms live up to five years. In that time, they can grow as long as fourteen inches. They eventually block the pulmonary artery and blood vessels connected to the heart. They can also cause damage to other internal organs like the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Since they grow slowly, by the time your pet shows symptoms, it may be too late.

Treating Adult Heartworms

Killing adult heartworms can be difficult depending on how many worms the pet has and how badly the organs are damaged. Treatment involves extensive x-rays to locate the worms. The pet is given a series of injections to kill the worms. Our veterinarians will work with your pet to continually monitor its health and provide whatever treatment he or she may need.

Preventing Heartworms

One of the best ways to treat heartworm disease is by preventing it from occurring in the first place. We provide chewable pills for your pet to take every month. The pills kill microfilaria but do not kill adult heartworms. You should also have your pet's blood checked every year for the presence of adult heartworms. If the heartworms are detected before symptoms start, there is a good chance that the pet will survive.

Visit Us for Quality Pet Care from Our Citrus Heights Vets 

If you have questions about heartworm prevention that have not been answered here and live in the Citrus Heights area, don't hesitate to get in touch with Citrus Heights Animal Hospital by calling us at (916) 725-2700 today. Our veterinarians can help you understand ways to protect your pet's health year-round and provide the necessary testing and treatment he or she needs. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your animal.

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