I am very honored that Team Beaglebratz asked me to do a guest post for their bloggy. I asked if it would be OK to post about a subject very near and dear to my heart and they were very enthusiastic about helping me spread the word about how important it is to prevent heartworms.
Most of you know that I am a Heartworm Disease Survivor, so this is an issue very dear to my heart and it affects dogs and cats.
The American Heartworm Society has information every pet guardian should be aware of.
Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. I live in one of the areas with the most cases of heartworm disease reported.
When I found Mommy I was already showing clinical signs, I had a mild persistent cough and I seemed very tired (Mommy thought I was a really OLD dog).
What Are the Signs of Heartworm Disease?For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites.
Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss.
Cats may exhibit clinical signs that are very non-specific, mimicking many other feline diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss. Signs associated with the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis, when in fact they are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).I was lucky in that they have a treatment for doggies, currently there is no treatment for cats.
Currently, there are no products in the United States approved for the treatment of heartworm infection in cats. Cats have proven to be more resistant hosts to heartworm than dogs, and often appear to be able to rid themselves of infection spontaneously. Unfortunately, many cats tend to react severely to the dead worms as they are being cleared by the body, and this can result in a shock reaction, a life-threatening situation. Veterinarians will often attempt to treat an infected cat with supportive therapy measures to minimize this reaction; however it is always best to prevent the disease.
There are heartworm preventives for both doggies and cats and I sincerely hope that you give your dog or cat one every month, all year. It is very important that you not skip the winter months especially if you live in a warm area like I do.
If you want to read about my fight with Heartworm Disease you can read
Scylla Sunday (My first Heartworm Treatment)
Tuiren Day (My Second Heartworm Treatment)
Tuiren Tuesday - Heartworm Treatment (The Final Treatment)
~Tuiren reporting for ATCAD