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Protect Pets from Heartworm Disease with Preventative Measures

Damariscotta, ME (PRWEB) April 19, 2013

Over the last few years, the vets at the Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic have seen an increase in the number of positive cases of Heartworm disease. More disturbingly, several of these cases have been native dogs who have never traveled outside of Maine. Heartworm disease may not be rampant in this area, but pet owners may be in for an unpleasant and expensive experience if their dog or cat is one of the unlucky ones to be bitten by an infected mosquito (which is how heartworm disease is spread) while unprotected.

When questioning owners about heartworm prevention, Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic is finding that people are not using preventative medicine or are using it incorrectly for a number of reasons, economic concern being at the top of the list. The second most common reason is a perception that this is not a disease of great importance, and third is poor continuity in owner education. Owner education has been interrupted to a degree as more and more people turn to the internet to purchase preventative products. Without the ability to advise and keep in touch with patients on products and how they are being used, many of these medications are not being used to best advantage, if they are being used at all.

Why is this parasite so dangerous? Heartworms are thread-like worms that grow up to 14 inches long and live in the heart. They starve the animal of its’ own oxygen-rich blood and can form blockages that keep the blood from reaching its intended areas. They can cause a heart attack or heart failure. Damage to the lungs and other organs is also common from the circulatory compromise. In cats, the affect tends to be sudden onset, often fatal, respiratory distress. The prevalence of Heartworm disease in cats is still unknown because there is no reliable way to test for heartworm in a cat. By the time any symptoms show in the cat, if the cat even shows symptoms, it’s usually too late. There is no treatment for feline Heartworm disease. It only takes one heartworm to kill a cat.

Although there is treatment available for Heartworm disease in dogs, it has several drawbacks. The medication regimen is quite rigorous for the patient. A full medical work up of blood chemistries and radiographs to evaluate damage and therapeutic risk is necessary. The appropriate treatment plan and post treatment restriction period are paramount for the patient’s well being. Exercise is severely limited post treatment and complications can arise such as respiratory infections, embolisms and drug sensitivity reaction.

Heartworm is a terrible disease, but easily preventable. There are several products available as a preventative. Most of the products are for once-a-month use. Dogs and cats should be on a preventative year round and tested at least once a year. Treatment for heartworm disease is hard on owners and their pets both physically and emotionally. Prevention is comparatively inexpensive and easy.

<br>About the company:<br>
Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic is a full service veterinarian providing medical, surgical and dental care in a compassionate, caring manner with a personal touch. Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic is a staple in the Mid-Coast Maine area and has been proudly serving residents of Damariscotta for over 50 years. For more information, visit

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