Pet Health Questions
Q: What is Heartworm Disease?
A: Heartworm disease is a long parasitic round worm. These worms (Dirofilaria immitis) grow (up to a foot long) in the arteries and lungs of animals. As the worms grow, they can cause energy loss, coughing, difficulty breathing, fluid in the abdomen, dizziness, and possibly death.
Q: Can my dog or cat get heartworm disease?
A: Any dog or cat that is not on preventive heartworm medication is at risk of getting heartworm disease. If a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites your pet, the larvae can enter through the wound and work their way into the circulation. Over the next six months, the larvae grow into adult worms.
Q: How do I test for, and treat heartworm disease?
A: Heartworm disease can be detected with a simple blood test. If infected, the treatment is lengthy. Total treatment can take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Multiple injections of an arsenic-based drug are required. These injections can be painful upon and after administration. One of the biggest concerns during treatment is blockage in the lung’s blood vessels, caused by the dying worms. To reduce the risk of a fatal blockage, the affected pet must be confined to a crate (that is, strict rest) for 4-8 weeks and leash walked only, when outside.
Q: How can I protect my pet from heartworm disease?
A: You can protect your cat and dog with monthly medication. Given topically or orally, the medication kills the heartworm larvae. The medication should be given on a monthly basis to ensure that no worms have a chance to grow larger and more resistant. You and your pet should visit your local veterinarian before starting a heartworm prevention regiment.
Q: Where can I get more information about heartworm prevention?
A: The Animal Clinic of Edgewater is happy to answer all of your questions about heartworm prevention. You may also want to visit www.heartwormsociety.org.
Attention Animal Clinic of Edgewater Feline Friends:
We are proud to annouce that we are now using Purevax vaccines for all feline vaccines. This vaccine is of the highest quality and the least side effect for our feline friends. Recent research has shown that some vaccines result in tumors associated with injection site up to 8 years after the injection. Purevax vaccines have been developed so as to not result in such tumors.
We want nothing but the best for our lovely feline friends so these will be standard vacines from now on. They are, unfortunately, more expensive. As a result you will notice an increase in the charge of the vaccines, but we think your pet is worth it. The only draw back is there is no 3 year rabies vaccine available in the Purevax line, therefore; we do not recommend using the 3 year vaccine on felines at this time. Our goal is to provide the best veterinary care for your pets and switching to Purevax vaccines (by Merial) is our best way of accomplishing that.
Thank you for your continued patronage and we look forward to seeing your kitties!