Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospitals Talks Heartworm
Many different mosquitoes carry a blood-borne parasite called microfilariae, larvae of an organism called heartworm. These microfilariae, when transmitted, circulate in a dog's small blood vessels, eventually causing injury to the lungs and liver. Moreover, they grow into adult heartworms, residing in a dog's heart and adjacent blood vessels. Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital, Pearland's primary animal health care facility, wants to remind pet owners to protect their pets from this hazardous and potentially fatal disease.
"It usually takes several years before dogs show clinical signs of infection," Claws & Paws' Dr. Julie Wickel said. "Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is usually well advanced."
Claws & Paws explains that the most obvious clinical signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough; shortness of breath; weakness; nervousness; listlessness; and loss of stamina. These signs become most apparent after exercise, and some dogs even faint or become disoriented.
"The female worm is six to 14 inches long (15-36 centimeters) and one-eighth inch wide (5 millimeters)," Wickel said. "The male is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms present when diagnosed."
Heartworm is not transmitted directly from dog to dog. Instead, it is transferred when a mosquito bites an infected dog, becoming a carrier of microfilariae, and then bites another dog. There are many tests that a veterinarian can perform to diagnose a pet with heartworm infection, and there are possible treatments, depending on how much damage has been caused. But more than treatment, Claws & Paws advises pet owners to take the necessary steps to prevent dogs from contracting the disease.
"You can prevent your dog from getting heartworms by using a heartworm preventive," Dr. Wickel said. "With the safe and affordable heartworm preventives available today, no pet should ever have to endure this dreaded disease."
For more information about heartworm preventives, heartworm diagnosis and heartworm treatment, please call 281-997-1426 or visit www.cpvh.com. Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital is located at 2556 E. Broadway St. in Pearland.
About Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital
Claws & Paws Veterinary Hospital was founded in 1997 by Dr. Julie Wickel and has built a reputation as one of the finest veterinary hospitals in the area. Each day, Claws & Paws strives to provide the highest quality of medicine and service to all patients and owners. Each pet that exits its doors has been pampered and spoiled, as the vets fulfill their goal of courtesy and compassion with high-quality medicine.
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