Heartworm Disease Prevention for Santa Clara Valley Pets
Although not as common as in the Midwest and Southeast United States, heartworm is still an issue in Northern California. We see it more commonly in the Central Valley, but even in our corner of the bay area where transmission is limited by a larger number of pets on heartworm preventative, we still see it occasionally. It is important to remember that dogs are most often inflicted with heartworm disease, but cats are vulnerable as well. Your West Valley veterinarian will help you develop the best plan in preventing this disease in your pets.
What Are Heartworms?
Mosquitos transmit heartworms, not direct contact with another infected pet. The mosquito's bite allows for the microscopic larvae to enter the bloodstream and over the next several months, it can grow up to 12 inches!
Although an animal will show no symptoms with early infection, once adult heartworms are present, they can lodge in the vessels and can show a variety of symptoms including weight loss, lethargy, exercise intolerance, coughing or even sudden death.
While heartworm disease is possible, it can be dangerous as an animal must be kept kenneled and quiet for several weeks to prevent the dying worms from forming an embolis (clot) in the blood stream. Prevention (killing the larval stage) is much safer and easier.
Ask your West Valley veterinarian to help you choose the best preventative plan for you and your pet!