Heartworm Treatment

What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs, cats, and other animals. It is caused by the parasitic worm Dirofilaria immitis, which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Once inside the body, the heartworm larvae mature into adult worms and migrate to the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels, where they can cause severe damage and lead to heart failure, respiratory problems, and other complications.

Symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Tiring more easily
  • Distended Abdomen

How is heartworm disease treated?

Following the American Heartworm Society guidelines, the treatment protocol for heartworm disease typically involves a multi-step approach to effectively eliminate heartworms from your pet’s body.

1.Preliminary Assessment: Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and may recommend additional tests, such as bloodwork and imaging, to assess the severity of the infection and your pet’s overall health status.

2. Stabilization: If your pet is showing clinical signs of heartworm disease, they may require stabilization measures, such as rest, medications to manage symptoms, and supportive care to address any complications.

3. Adulticide Treatment: The primary goal of treatment is to eliminate adult heartworms from your pet’s body. This involves administering a series of injections containing melarsomine, a medication that targets and kills adult heartworms residing in the heart and pulmonary arteries.

4. Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be prescribed to help reduce the risk of secondary infections and complications associated with heartworm treatment.

5. Rest and Activity Restriction: Following adulticide treatment, your pet will need to rest and avoid strenuous activity to minimize the risk of complications, such as pulmonary embolism.

6. Monitoring: Your Veterinarian will closely monitor your pet’s progress throughout the treatment process, conducting follow-up examinations and diagnostic tests to assess treatment efficacy and ensure your pet’s safety and well-being.

7. Preventive Care: After completing adulticide treatment, your pet will require ongoing preventive measures, including monthly heartworm preventives, to protect against future heartworm infections.

It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations and adhere to the treatment protocol diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for your pet. With proper care and management, many pets can successfully recover from heartworm disease and enjoy a happy, healthy life.

If you think your pet may be suffering from heartworm disease, call our office to schedule an appointment today.