What are heartworms? They are dangerous parasites that are passed from an infected animal to another animal through a mosquito bite. Heartworms can be hard to diagnose unless the animal is specifically tested for them. Dogs can demonstrate a cough, fatigue and even weight loss. Symptoms in cats mimic other feline diseases.

Blood testing is used to diagnose heartworm infections and unfortunately when it is detectable your pet has had them for several months at that point. Treatment for heartworms is extensive and expensive. While undergoing medicine treatment, your animal must be kept contained and under strict exercise limitations. This can last up to 8 weeks.

It has been accepted that the best treatment for heartworms is prevention. There are several types of preventatives including a chewy treat, pills and even injectable medicines. Gulf Coast Veterinary Hospital routinely tests for heartworms at a yearly appointment, however if you are noticing a change in your pet’s behavior and appetite, please bring them in to be assessed by a doctor.