Office Hours - By Appointment

Monday 8am - 5pm
Tuesday 8am - 7pm
Wednesday 8am - 5pm
Thursday 8am - 7pm
Friday 8am - 5pm 
Saturday 8am - 3pm
Sunday - Closed 

For after hours emergencies call the office at 618-349-6446. 

Heartworms and Prevention

Heartworm disease is a serious, potentially fatal disease that CAN happen to your pet.  It is caused by long worms that live primarily in the heart and lungs.  Over time, these worms can damage the heart, vessels to and from the heart and the lungs.  Eventually the amount of worms can become so great that the animal's heart can no longer beat properly. Even with treatment of these worms the animal can experience complications long after the worms are gone. 

The dog is a natural host for the heartworm and can carry hundreds of worms.  Cats are not a typical host of heartworms but can also develop the disease.  It presents a little differently in cats than in dogs.  Heartworm testing of cats is far less common and can go unnoticed.  The disease itself can go unnoticed for a long period with no signs of symptoms.  Most cases are actually caught by routine blood testing done at the office. 

The worm is passed by mosquitoes in the environment.  They transmit the microfilaria, or immature worm, into the tissue of an animal.  The worm continues to migrate through the tissue into the bloodstream where they travel to the heart and lungs.  It takes 6 months for the microfilaria to mature into adult worms.  At that point, the only way to rid the animal of the worms is by expensive injections placed deep in the back muscles.  Heartworm prevention will kill the worm in its immature stage. PREVENTION IS ALWAYS RECOMMENDED. Even with treatment to get rid of the worms, there is always a chance of serious complications during and after treatment. 

Any dog or cat is capable of contracting the worm... Even if they are indoor animals or have a thick hair coat. The only true way to prevent contraction of the worm is by placing the animal on heartworm prevention purchased from your veterinarian. 

Heartworm prevention is considered standard care like vaccines.  We like to stress prevention instead of treatment.  It's cheaper for you and less painful for your pet!

 

For more information regarding heartworms check out the web page published by the American Heartworm Association.

https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics