Besides intestinal worms, there is another category of worms which are potentially lethal to your pet. Dirofilaria Immitis is better known as the heartworm. This parasite does not need your pet to even be in contact with infected animals as it is spread by mosquitoes. The immature microflora of heartworm would be in the bloodstream of an infected animal. The mosquitoes feed on an infected animal and suck up some of the microflora. Inside the mosquito, the immature parasite develops into a larva. When the mosquito bites your pet, it can inject this larva into the animal’s bloodstream. These worms then grow to maturity within your pet. They can cause a blockage in the heart and also a thickening of the heart and the blood vessels associated with it. There may be no signs at the start of the parasitical infestation but later symptoms can include coughing, lethargy, not wanting to exercise and eventually heart failure and potentially death. Besides Tasmania and very arid areas, heartworm is present throughout Australia.
It is easy to prevent heartworm if you stick to a good health care routine. Treatment options include tablets, spot treatments and chewables. There are also annual injections that can be administered at the annual health check. If you have not been keeping up to date with heartworm prevention, you should have a test done prior to starting a preventative program as well as a further test 6 months after starting the treatment.
Discuss an effective heartworm prevention program to best suit you and your pet with your vet.