Posts Tagged ‘American Heartworm Society’

Heartworms Continue to Plaque Pets!!

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Each year, veterinarians do battle with an ancient enemy of our dogs and cats.  Heartworms are easily preventable with affordable and safe medications, but positive cases continue to rise.  Is there any hope that we could see an end to this parasite?

It’s been more than 150 years since a scientist discovered the heartworm parasite of dogs and more than 80 years since the parasite was found in cats.  Still, each year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are diagnosed with this dreaded worm and it is estimated that North American cases are actually in the millions.  In all this time, why have we not found a way to combat and stop this plague?

Heartworm disease is devastating to the pet’s health.  Spread by mosquitoes, this parasite can grow close to two feet long and takes up physical space in the heart’s chambers and pulmonary artery.  This means that the dog’s heart must work harder to push the same amount of blood out to the body.  Early signs of this disease included fatigue and exercise intolerance, but later signs can include coughing, fluid accumulation in the lungs or abdomen and death. 

For cats, the heartworm larvae prefer the lungs and can cause vomiting, asthma like symptoms and even sudden death in some cases.