Predictions from the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) indicate this will be a big year for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease to dogs and cats. Heartworm disease is a serious, potentially fatal, preventable, disease in cats and dogs. The CAPC expects the number of dogs and cats testing positive will increase along with the increase in the mosquito population. Presently, one in 195 dogs in Fresno County tested positive according to the Council.
Adult female heartworms produce tiny baby worms called microfiliaria. The female heartworm lives in an infected dog, fox, coyote or wolf . The mosquito bites an infected animal and ingests the microfiliaria. It then bites your dog or cat, transmitting small microfiliaria. The microfiliaria grow into foot long worms that live in your dog or cat’s heart, lungs or blood vessels.
Dogs with heartworm can show mild persistent cough, exercise intolerance, fatigue or weight loss. Heartworm disease can lead to cardiac failure if not treated. Cats on the other hand may show subtle signs which include coughing, vomiting, decreased appetite or weight loss. Occasionally severe signs of fainting, seizures, difficulty walking or sudden death occur in cats.
Heartworm has been endemic in the foothill for the last 15 years and is getting closer to metropolitan Fresno. Protect your pet by testing for heartworm then start your pet on monthly prevention program. Numerous prevention programs are available to fit the client’s and patient’s needs.
Prevention is less costly than treating your pet once they have heartworm disease. Treatment in dogs will include restricting exercise, stabilizing your dog and hospitalization. Unfortunately there is no approved drug therapy for cats with the infection. The goal is to stabilize your cat then determine a long-term management plan.
We can help protect your pet. Call Bullard Marks Veterinary Medical Center at 432-0887 to schedule an appointment.