Heartworm Prevention

In this photo, Chronos is checking in for his 6 month ProHeart6 injection! Your pup should too:) Read on to see why it’s so important, especially in our area.

When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection. And those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely. Memphis and the south in general have THE HIGHEST incidence of heartworm disease in the world due to heavy mosquito population.

In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “caval syndrome” (a form of liver failure); without prompt surgical intervention, this condition usually causes death.

Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.

Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive and burdensome than prevention. It involves diligent use of medication, activity restriction, and lots of testing, monitoring, etc. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep your dog or cat safe: by administering heartworm preventives. Most monthly heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, and even fleas. ProHeart6 is an injection we administer in office which protects your dog for 6 whole months! It’s also extremely affordable. We can recommend the best regimen of prevention for your pet.