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Heartworms can be a very serious, potentially fatal, problem for your pet. Heartworms are parasites that can do major damage to their host’s organs and blood vessels. As they grow and clutter, they can block off blood flow and cause organs to fail. While dogs are the most common domestic host for heartworms, cats can be affected too.

To be safe, tests should be run on your dog annually. They should also remain on a worm preventative to ensure protection is in place. Even if they are on a preventative, or have been in the past year, they should still be screened to be sure of their wellness. Cats are less likely to have heartworms than dogs, but they should be tested as well.

Heartworm infections can start out as subtle in the early stages. As time goes on, frequent coughing, trouble breathing, exhaustion, and loss of appetite can occur. If left untreated for long periods of time, cardiovascular collapse can happen. At that point, surgical removal of the parasites may be necessary in order to save the animal’s life.

Diagnosis can be achieved from simple blood tests; however, additional tests, such as ultrasounds of the heart, can be used to determine the scale and impact of an infection.

Schedule an appointment for your pet to ensure that they remain protected and happily healthy.

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