April was National Heartworm Awareness Month and the timing couldn’t be better. Mosquitoes are breeding and gearing up for their ravenous summer months, and they’re the reason East Tennessee remains a hotbed for heartworm disease among dogs.
The American Heartworm Society reports that heartworm disease is on the rise throughout the U.S., including the Southeast. In fact, according to the most recent American Heartworm Society Incidence Map, Tennessee ranks in the top 5 states for heartworm disease. According to the “Diseases Near You” map by IDEXX Reference Laboratories, over 1,000 cases of heartworm have been reported in Knox County in the past five years, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg since it only accounts for cases that have been diagnosed and reported. Heartworm disease primarily affects dogs, but cats, ferrets, coyotes, and foxes can also carry the disease.
Here’s why heartworm disease is reason for serious concern:
- Heartworm disease is easily spread by mosquitoes and is potentially fatal if untreated.
- The parasitic worms infect the heart and lungs, and can live and breed for 7 years.
- Heartworms can grow to be a foot long.
- Heartworms cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, and arteries.
- Heartworm disease can cause permanent damage to the heart or lungs, compromising your dog’s longevity and quality of life.
- It can also lead to liver failure, which is usually fatal without quick surgical intervention.
- Dogs of any breed, age, or size are susceptible to heartworms.
The other danger of heartworm disease is that the symptoms typically don’t show up until the disease has progressed severely. Signs of heartworm disease may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight loss
- Swollen abdomen
The best way to protect your pet from heartworms is to stay on a quality prevention product year-round. The American Heartworm Society also recommends that all dogs be tested for heartworms every 12 months, even those already on heartworm preventative medication.
Fortunately, heartworm prevention is safe and easy, and is a much more affordable option than treatment. Keep in mind, however, that there are no over-the-counter heartworm prevention products, so talk with you veterinarian about which preventatives are recommended to protect your pet. Some heartworm preventatives can also protect against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
PetWellClinic® offers a variety of affordable, high-quality chewable and topical monthly heartworm prevention products—such as Interceptor Plus and Tri-Heart Plus—to protect your pet against developing heartworms and other parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. We also offer a heartworm preventative injection, ProHeart 6, that lasts for 6 months. Our friendly staff can help you determine which product is best for your pet, and can help you with flea and tick prevention products as well.
PetWellClinic® offers quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours with no appointment necessary. To see how we’re able to offer more affordable pet care without compromising quality, take a look at our free and quick guidebook to see how PetWellClinic® can save you time and money.
PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for top quality, affordable pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.