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ASPCA Vets Warn About Heartworm: It Takes Only One Mosquito Bite!

Posted by on May. 8, 2009 at 7:57 PM
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City dwellers and suburbanites alike may find it shocking to hear that pets who live in environments with low mosquito populations are still at risk for contracting heartworm. “It only takes one infected mosquito to pass this devastating parasite onto your pet,” warns Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine at the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital.
 
Challenging to treat and sometimes fatal, heartworm disease, which can be transmitted to dogs and cats by a mosquito who has previously bitten an infected animal, can cause a host of health problems in domestic pets. Dr. Murray reports, “Though infected animals may go for a period of time without showing any symptoms, heartworm disease can lead to heart, lung and organ damage in both dogs and cats—even putting infected cats at risk for sudden death.”

The good news is prevention is easy. “There are several FDA-approved medications available that reliably prevent heartworm,” says Dr. Murray. “These medications are inexpensive and offer excellent protection."  Preventive treatment is now recommended in all areas of the United States, and pet parents should work with their veterinarians to find the right medication for their companion animal.

Should you observe the following symptoms in your pet, please take him to your veterinarian for an immediate exam:

  • Labored breathing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss and listlessness
  • Fatigue after only moderate exercise
  • Distended abdomen

 

by on May. 8, 2009 at 7:57 PM
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