Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Treatment & Prevention at Wedington Animal Hospital

At the Wedington Animal Hospital, we have a Fayetteville veterinary team completely dedicated to improving the lives of our pet patients and helping pet owners raise healthy, happy, and well-adjusted animals. Heartworm treatment, testing, and prevention is an important part of this. 

dog playing with a ball with his owner

What is a Heartworm?

A heartworm is a parasite that can get inside a cat or dog via a mosquito bite (mosquitos carry heartworms in their larval stage). Once inside an animal, heartworms grow and mature into adult worms reaching upwards of 12 inches long. They make their home (sometimes for years) inside the vessels supplying blood to major organs, like the heart and lungs. 

They tend to affect dogs and cats a little differently, with hundreds of heartworms able to grow inside dogs (natural hosts) and typically only one or two in cats. It's a life-threatening condition in both species, however, because as the worms grow they block blood flow to organs, potentially leading to organ failure and death.

Signs & Symptoms of a Heartworm Infestation

Clinical presentation of heartworms, whether subtle or dramatic, depends on the stage of the disease and whether the affected animal is a cat or dog. Early on there may be no signs at all! 

If you notice any of the following in your pet, schedule an appointment:

  • A mild cough that won't go away
  • Fatigue after light or moderate physical activity, and/or a reluctance to exercise
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Fluid retention due to heart failure (often presents as a distended belly)
  • Seizure and collapse

How our Fayetteville Veterinarian Team Diagnoses, Treats & Prevents Heartworm Disease in Cats and Dogs

Heartworm disease is serious but largely preventable with the diligent administration of preventive medication, typically in the form of a once-monthly pill for life. Before we prescribe the correct dose (based on species and weight), our Fayetteville veterinarian team will first test your animal to make sure heartworms aren't already present; this is done via a simple blood test. 

If heartworms are present, treatment may include a combination of medications to kill the adult and larvae heartworms and surgical extractions to remove them. Animals may also require medical intervention and hospitalization to treat complications of heartworms such as organ failure. 

It's important to realize that heartworm treatment is generally expensive and stressful. Prevention is much easier on your pet, you and your wallet!

Is Your Pet Protected? Get Preventive Medication at Wedington Animal Hospital 

Contact our vet clinic in Fayetteville today at (479) 444-6600 to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly veterinarians. We're happy to ensure your pet is up-to-date with its parasite prevention.