Can my dog get heartworm disease?
Yes. Your dog can get heartworm disease, whether
he's an "outside" dog or even if he stays inside
most of the time. Dogs get heartworm disease
from mosquitoes. It is the female mosquito that
bites and transmits the infection. Female
mosquitoes are very tiny and can easily slip
through cracks around windows, doors or screens.
Every dog can be at risk, indoors or out.
Are some dogs more susceptible than others?
Unfortunately, no dog, or breed of dog, is
immune to heartworm disease. The mosquito that
bites your dog could be carrying this common and
deadly parasite. One bite from an infected
mosquito is all it takes for your dog to become
How can I know for sure if my dog already
The only way to know for sure is to have your
family veterinarian examine and test your dog.
The procedure is quick and easy. But don't delay
in calling your veterinarian to arrange for a
heartworm test. If your dog gets heartworm
disease, treatment can be dangerous for him and
expensive for you.
When is the right time to get my dog
Mosquitoes, the carriers of heartworm disease,
can be found at varying times of the year
depending on the climate. Here at Minster
Veterinary service we recommend testing every 3
years for dogs that are on year round
prevention. If you miss a dose, we need to
wait 6 months before testing. Heartworms
will not show up positive on a test for 6 months after becoming
How can I prevent my dog from getting
heartworm disease in the future?
If your veterinarian determines that your dog is
free of heartworms, he or she will tell you how
easy and convenient prevention can be. It's
important to follow your veterinarian's
instructions; if you don't, your dog could still
be at risk. Remember, the first, most important
step is to have your dog tested for heartworms.
We highly recommend year round prevention in our
What Does This Mean For All Dog Owners?
Now that greater numbers of people are traveling
across the country with their dogs, on vacation
or visiting friends and relatives, no state is
entirely heartworm-free. Heartworm disease
continues to pose a threat to dogs across the
United States. Because heartworm disease is
potentially fatal, owners should visit their
family veterinarian to learn how easy and
convenient prevention can be.
When Traveling, Help Protect Your Dog from
Many states require that owners traveling
with their dogs obtain an up-to-date health
certificate from a licensed veterinarian.
As a part of the examination, your
veterinarian may check for heartworm
disease. If your dog is not infected, the
veterinarian can recommend preventive
measures. Prevention is the key to
protecting a dog both at home and away.
Upon returning home from a trip, owners
should revisit their family veterinarian for
an examination to make sure their dog did
not pick up any parasites, either internal
(e.g., heartworm, hookworm, roundworm) or
external (fleas and ticks).
Remember, annual heartworm tests are
important whether or not your dog is
When it comes to heartworm disease, dogs and
cats have a lot in common. But new research
shows that in cats there is the potential for
more severe reactions and even sudden death.
Indoor cats are also at risk for heartworm
Cases of heartworm disease in cats have been
reported across the United States and many other
countries. Heartworm disease is most common in
areas where dogs are also at risk.
What are the signs?
The most common signs of heartworm disease in
cats - coughing , vomiting, breathing
difficulties, weight loss, and lethargy - are
often mistaken for other conditions such as
asthma, pneumonia and digestive problems. In
fact, most common clinical signs of heartworm
disease in cats resembles bronchial asthma.
Once a cat is diagnosed with heartworm disease,
managing the disease can be difficult.
Treatment, as well as non-treatment, is very
risky, because there's currently no approved
product for treating adult heartworms, and the
onset of clinical signs is impossible to predict
in cats that are left untreated. Even if the
disease is treated, your cat may experience
severe complications or even death when the
worms die. Prevention is the best medicine. At
Minster Veterinary Service we currently do not
generally recommend prevention for your cat. If
you wish to use prevention please ask us and we
will get it for you.
What is heartworm disease in cats?
Heartworm disease in cats is a serious and
potentially fatal condition caused by
Dirofilaria immitis. This is the same
parasite that causes heartworm disease in dogs
but new research shows a potential for more
severe reactions and even sudden death in cats.
How do cats get heartworm disease?
Cats get heartworm disease the same way dogs get
it. Mosquitoes transmit the disease by biting an
infected animal, then passing the infection on
to other animals they bite.
Where are cats at risk for heartworm
Cats are at risk wherever dogs are at risk,
including cats that live indoors. In fact, some
studies estimate that 70% of cats may be at risk
in areas where there are heartworm-infected
What are the signs of heartworm disease in
Common signs of infection are:
Other more acute signs are:
These signs may also be seen with other
feline diseases. Ask your veterinarian about
your cat's risk for heartworm disease.
Merial Company offers a free reminder service
for monthly heartworm prevention. To sign
up for this free offer click on the link below.
Click HERE to find us on FaceBook!