Why “Heart” & “Worms” Should Not Go Together—And Yes, Cats Get Them Too

dog-1224267__340According to the American Heartworm Society, heartworms lead to a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. Heartworms can cause severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

Heartworm disease affects primarily dogs, but cats, ferrets, coyotes and foxes can also carry the disease. Because foxes and coyotes live near many urban areas of East Tennessee, they are considered important carriers of the disease.

Mosquitoes transmit heartworms by picking up microscopic “baby worms” called microfilaria that are produced by adult worms living in an infected animal, and then transfer the worms when they bite another animal. It takes about six months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms, which can then live for several years in the infected animal. For this reason, each mosquito season adds to a pet’s chances of developing heartworms.

Some pets may not show signs of heartworm infection, especially early on. In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing or a swollen abdomen. Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening form of liver failure, which is usually fatal without quick surgical intervention.

Even after the parasites are gone, heartworm disease can cause lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and arteries. Prevention is by far a safer and more affordable option than treatment and fortunately, it’s easy to protect your pet from infection with monthly heartworm preventives. Most heartworm medications, like Interceptor Plus and Tri-Heart Plus, also protect your pet against other parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for safe heartworm, flea, and tick preventative products, as well as vaccinations, wellness exams, and treatment of minor conditions. Think of us as a “minute clinic” for your pet—no appointment necessary, with quick in-and-out service. You can save even more time by pre-registering and pre-paying online for our walk-in clinics.

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 affordable, top quality pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.

We can recommend the best regimen of prevention for your pet.


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