Heartworm Treatment from Your Charlotte, NC Veterinarian
Heartworms in dogs are more common than most people realize. The cause of heartworm disease is a parasitic worm spread by mosquitoes. Charlotte pet owners should be particularly aware of this condition, since it is common in the southeastern part of the United States. Preventative pet care protects animals by regular testing at our Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital and administering the medications our Charlotte veterinarian recommends.
Overview of Heartworm Disease
Although most clients at our animal hospital associate heartworms with dogs, the worms also affect cats and ferrets as well, but are less common in those animals. Dogs are natural hosts of this parasite. While only a few worms can survive in a cat, those that do can damage the animal’s respiratory system.
During the early stages of heartworm disease, most dogs show no signs of distress or may have a mild cough, weakness, and/or an aversion to exercise. As the disease advances, an animal’s circulatory system carries heartworms into the lungs. Our veterinarian notes that possible results include:
- Blood clots
- Lung inflammation
- Shock from a bacterium released from dying adult heartworms
- Abdominal fluid accumulation
- Congestive heart failure
- Liver or kidney disease
Treatment Options from Our Animal Hospital
Our animal hospital most commonly diagnoses heartworm disease through a screening blood test, an exam, and clinical signs. We recommend this test as part of annual pet care. Tests such as X-rays, echocardiograms, and heart ultrasounds can help confirm the disease and stage its severity.
The most appropriate treatment for a dog with heartworms depends on the stage of the disease and worm location and burden. Our doctor prescribes medication to eliminate heartworms, antibiotics to prevent infections, and steroids to reduce any inflammation. Rest for infected animals is also important.
To prevent heartworm disease, regular testing and the use preventative medication are critical. Canine preventative medications are available as a monthly oral tablet or as an injection that lasts for a longer period. Our veterinarian will advise owners on the appropriate options for their puppies or adult dogs.
Heartworm disease is a zoonotic infection. Fortunately, it is uncommon in humans. Some preventative steps include avoiding areas where the insects might collect, using mosquito repellents, and wearing protective clothing.
Schedule an Exam with Our Charlotte Veterinarian
Preventative veterinary services are the foundation of pet care. Our Quail Hollow Veterinary Hospital in Charlotte is a full-service practice offering a caring staff and the advanced resources to meet a pet’s needs, including emergency treatment. Call us today at 704-278-8000 to schedule an appointment with our veterinarian and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with giving your dog or cat the best in care.