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Exploring Heartworms and Their Impact on Pets

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects dogs and cats. It is caused by parasitic worms that reside in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected animals. 

In this blog post, we will shed light on what heartworm is, how dogs and cats contract it, and the available treatments to protect our furry companions from this silent but dangerous threat.


Understanding Heartworm:

Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites. When an infected mosquito bites a dog or cat, it deposits microscopic larvae into the animal's bloodstream. Over time, these larvae mature into adult worms, which can reach up to 12 inches in length and reside in the heart and lungs, causing damage to vital organs and hindering normal blood flow.


How Dogs and Cats Get Heartworms:

Both dogs and cats can contract heartworm disease, although it is more commonly diagnosed in dogs. When an infected mosquito bites an animal, it transfers the larvae into their bloodstream. Over the course of several months, the larvae develop into adult heartworms. If left untreated, these worms can multiply and cause severe damage to the cardiovascular system, leading to heart failure and potentially death.


Recognising Heartworm Infection:

Identifying heartworm infection can be challenging since symptoms may not manifest until the disease has progressed. Common signs in dogs include coughing, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and weight loss. Cats, on the other hand, may exhibit subtle symptoms such as vomiting, decreased appetite, and sudden collapse. Regular veterinary check-ups and heartworm testing are crucial for early detection.


Treating and Preventing Heartworms:

Prevention is key when it comes to heartworm disease. Here are some essential measures to protect your pets:

  • Monthly Preventive Medication: Administering a monthly heartworm preventive medication, prescribed by your veterinarian, is the most effective way to keep your pets safe. These medications work by killing heartworm larvae before they mature into adult worms. Pet Lovers Club’s parasite protection includes protection against heartworm (as well as protection against fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms) and is delivered straight to your door, every month. 
  • Annual Testing: Annual heartworm testing is essential, even for pets on preventive medication. This ensures early detection and allows for prompt treatment if necessary.
  • Treatment for Infected Pets: If your pet tests positive for heartworms, your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan based on the severity of the infection. Treatment may involve a series of injections to kill the adult worms, along with strict rest and restricted activity during the recovery period.
  • Mosquito Control: Minimising exposure to mosquitoes is another important preventive measure. Use mosquito repellents, keep your pets indoors during peak mosquito activity, and eliminate standing water sources around your home.


Heartworm disease is a significant threat to the health and well-being of our beloved pets. Understanding what heartworm is, how dogs and cats acquire it, and the available treatments are essential for their protection. By implementing preventive measures, we can effectively safeguard our furry friends from this silent and potentially deadly disease. 

Remember, early detection and proactive prevention are key to ensuring a long and healthy life for our pets. Sign up with Pet Lovers Club for your pet's complete parasite protection and get your first month for only $5!

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