Learn About Heartworm Prevention and Treatment with Our Baltimore Veterinary Team at The Village Vet
Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition that’s easy for your pet to avoid, but difficult and expensive to treat. That’s why the veterinarians at The Village Vet in Baltimore and their trusted team think it’s so important that you learn about heartworm and how to make sure it never threatens the health of your beloved pet.
First, the basics and then some advice on heartworm treatment.
Heartworm can be introduced to your dog, cat or another mammal as larvae carried by the common mosquito and injected into the animal with a bite. These larvae-carrying mosquitoes have been found in every state of the nation.
Once in the animal, the parasite grows to adulthood in about seven months and migrates to a place near your pet’s heart, lungs or surrounding blood vessels. They can get to be a foot long and quickly reproduce, to the point where your pet might carry hundreds of these dangerous worms in a few years.
As the heartworms grow and continuously multiply, the danger to your pet also grows.
Symptoms of Heartworm
At first, there are no symptoms. It can take several years from the point the worm larvae are injected before symptoms appear. In time, the parasitic colony affects the heart or lung to an extent that symptoms can be easily spotted.
The first clue you might have is in your pet’s frequent coughing as the worms cause congestion. Your pet will also be more sapped of energy and less likely to want to take a walk or play.
Heartworm is quite often fatal if left untreated, and your pet will certainly suffer its effects. That’s why it’s important to immediately see a veterinarian and start a course of treatment.
Preventing and Treating Heartworm
Naturally, the best heartworm “treatment” is to prevent your pet from contracting this dangerous parasite in the first place. That’s a very easy and inexpensive undertaking. Your veterinarian can recommend medication that your pet can take orally (in pill form) or as a topical cream applied once a month.
Your pet can also receive an injection of medication that will protect it for six months. The entire cost for a year’s supply of meds is only between about $35 and $80, depending on the size of your animal.
If the parasite has already been contracted, the heartworm treatment process is a bit more complex. It’s likely to include a full workup -- X-rays and bloodwork at a veterinary clinic -- to diagnose the scope of the infestation. With that knowledge, your veterinarian can start a schedule of injections to kill the colony.
The cost of heartworm treatment can run between about $500 and $1,000.
Schedule a Wellness Visit Today
Obviously, for the well-being of your beloved pet -- and your budget -- heartworm prevention is the best course of action. Please schedule a wellness visit today for your pet at The Vet Village at 1620 Sulgrave Avenue in Baltimore.
Our caring veterinarians and their animal-loving staff will make sure your animal is in the best possible health and show you how to protect it against the threat of heartworm. Call us at (410) 367-8111.