Having a heart to prevent heartworm infection

Having a heart to prevent heartworm infection

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - February is Heart Awareness Month.  While we usually focus on the health of humans, it's a good time to remember our pets have to have their hearts protected, too.  Heartworm disease can be a serious and even fatal infection in our dogs and cats. 
 
A heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that spreads from host to host through mosquitoes biting the animal.  The heartworm is a small, thread-like worm that causes what's called filariasis.

Dr. Wendy King of Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic reminds patients that medications to prevent heartworm infections are called preventives. Preventives kill the heartworm larvae before they have a chance to grow and mature into adult heartworms. 
 
Dr. King is in the process of helping a lab/basset hound mix heal.  Otto is a rescue dog and is heartworm positive because he was not given a monthly medication that could prevent this infection. Once he's cured of the heartworms, he can be adopted. He also needs a donor willing to pay for his heartworm treatment which will run at a reduced price of less than $500.

Some heartworm preventives contain additional ingredients that will control other parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms. A monthly preventive should be given to all pets.
 
There are a variety of companies that offer heartworm preventives.  Dr. King recommends you buy from a vet to make sure you get a legit and effective product that is the right dosage for your dog or cat.

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