If pets could talk they would want you to know certain facts about heartworm. Cats would tell you that they get heartworms too and because it is usually fatal cats would much prefer prevention. Dogs would tell you that they are very susceptible to heartworm infection and unlike you have poor defenses against it.
Many of us have been infected by heartworm and do not know it. Ever been bitten by a mosquito and noticed an extra large swelling? Well, that could be due to your immune system successfully fighting off the heartworm infection.
When you think about heartworm do you imagine spaghetti like worms cutting Swiss cheese like holes through the heart rendering it permanently damaged and incapable of pumping? I did. But the truth is far less dramatic. Heartworms do not cut holes, do not have hooks or teeth and do not even have mouths. They do not suck onto or even attach to the heart. In fact in most infections the heartworms are not even in the heart but live by swimming in the arteries of the lungs causing only minor irritation to the lining of the lung blood vessels.
A true parasite does not wish to harm its host and heartworms are one of the best parasites on the planet. Heartworms cause disease only when there are large numbers of them, too many to fit in the arteries of the lungs. They then cause poor blood flow and increased blood pressure in the lungs which eventually affects the heart function.
As most dogs will tell you, most heartworm infections are detected in routine tests on seemingly healthy dogs. In the past it was believed that heartworm treatment was worse than the cure. Smart dogs will tell you that this is no longer true; folklore is decades behind the science. Heartworm treatment is not a poison that makes the pet so sick the worms die. Just because you may have an older pet, does not increase the chances your pet will die. Just because your pet has heartworms does not mean it cannot have anesthesia, surgery or other therapies.
Just because your pet has heartworms does not mean it cannot be on prevention. In fact prevention may help shorten the life of the heartworm and makes the pet non-contagious to other pets. 90% of heartworm treated dogs will tell you that they came through their heartworm treatment with no signs of distress and saw only minor signs of illness in more seriously ill dogs.
Even the most severe cases of heartworm disease called Caval Syndrome, where there are large numbers of heartworms in the heart, can be treated with a relatively minor surgery resulting in a high cure rate.
Please visit our web site at www.heartworm.com to watch a video of me performing this life saving surgery and to print a coupon for 50% off heartworm testing at Safari Animal Care Centers.
Heartworm disease is no longer a life sentence but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.