Heartworm Heartworm protection for your dog must be considered and by lindash


Heartworm Heartworm protection for your dog must be considered and

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Heartworm protection for your dog must be considered and comes in a number of forms - a
monthly tablet or an annual injection.

Heartworm disease is characterised by an infestation of heartworm in the heart and main blood
vessels of the lungs of animals. Heartworms are large parasites (up to 30cm long in dogs); they
are spread between infected dogs and cats by mosquitoes. A mosquito bites an infected animal
and ingests the immature heartworms (microfilariae) with blood. The microfilariae mature in
the mosquito over a 2-3 week period and are transferred to another animal when the mosquito
feeds again. The worms migrate from the site of the mosquito bite to the vessels of the heart
and lungs, where they develop into sexually mature worms seven months after infection.

Heartworm infection can cause serious and life-threatening illness, and treatment can have
serious complications. Heartworms interfere with the blood circulation to the heart and lungs,
and cause damage to the surrounding tissues, eventually leading to heart failure. Many
infected pets do not show symptoms until the disease is well advanced. Clinical signs of
heartworm infection in dogs are related to blockage and weakening of the blood vessels. They
include persistent coughing, laboured breathing, general lethargy and tiring easily after
exercise, a swollen belly, collapse and sometimes death. Treatment for the condition is both
expensive and traumatic for the animal - and may not reverse some of the damage already
caused by the heartworm. Prevention is very definitely better than cure!

Heartworm was traditionally a disease of tropical climates, but is now prevalent throughout
mainland Australia. We recommend routine prevention of heartworm infection for animals that
reside in Canberra and the surrounding area.

Heartworm antigen tests are available to those dogs who are older than 6 months of age and
have had no previous heartworm prevention regime or have lapsed in the heartworm
prevention regime. A follow up test must be conducted 6 months after the first test.

It is possible for cats to contract heartworm disease, however, it is rare.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly staff for more information.

                                       Inner South Veterinary Centre
                                        Skill, Care and Compassion

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