Heartworm Awareness for Pet Owners

How Do Pets Get Heartworm?

Heartworm is an internal parasite that is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito will feed on the blood of an injected animal, picking up the minute baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. These worms enter an infective stage during which they can be transferred into another animal when the mosquito bites it.

How Prevalent Is Heartworm In Burke, Virginia?

Heartworms have been reported in all 50 states. Virginia, like many other areas on the east coast, has the warm, wet conditions that foster the breeding of mosquitoes. As a result, the incidence of heartworm infestations is higher than the national average.

Why Is Heartworm Testing Important?

Heartworm infestation of your pet can be fatal, and treatment is not always successful. The best way to protect your pet from being infested by this parasite is to utilize the heartworm prevention medications that are available through your veterinarian. These medications are administered at home on a monthly basis. A vet should test your pet every 12 months to ensure it is free of heartworms that can cause a serious health emergency.

If Contracted, How Is Heartworm Treatment

First, testing is done at the animal hospital to determine the animal’s current condition. Exercise limits are imposed on the animal immediately. Procedures to stabilize the animal’s health are implemented, as needed. Steroid medications are given to prevent adverse reactions to the drugs to kill the heartworms. Doxycycline, an antibiotic, is also given to prevent reactions to the death of the heartworms. Heartworm prevention medication continues to be given to kill juvenile worms. Injections of melarsomine are administered periodically over a period of months. Exercise continues to be restricted over this period of time until the heartworm tests come back negative. After treatment, dogs can become re-infected with heartworms, so they should receive regular preventative care.

Contact Burke Animal Clinic For Heartworm Prevention

The veterinarians and staff at Burke Animal Clinic are proud to provide superior veterinary care for their patients in Burke, Virginia and surrounding communities. We offer a broad range of veterinary services, including wellness care, sick animal care, vaccinations, spay and neuter service, internal and external parasite prevention, diagnostics, pharmacy services, surgery, acupuncture, diabetes care, cancer treatment and urgent care. Contact Burke Animal Clinic today at 703-569-9600 for an appointment to discuss monthly preventive that can protect your pet against heartworm infestation.

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