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Feb 13 2016

Heartworm Disease

This is our in house 4DX Snap test we recommend be done annually on all dogs.

Unfortunately over the past week, we have diagnosed 2 new cases of heartworm disease in dogs doing our routine annual 4DX Snap in house test.  Heartworm disease is caused by the organism Dirofilaria immitis and is transmitted to dogs through mosquitos.  Both dogs we have diagnosed are house pets that were not currently on heartworm prevention.  Adult heartworms live in the pulmonary artery and can cause both heart and lung disease.  In the early stages of infection, many dogs have no clinical signs.  As the disease progresses, dogs go on to develop a cough, exercise intolerance, trouble breathing, collapsing episodes and can develop heart failure.  Dogs with heartworm disease are also very prone to having clots form, which can lead to acute respiratory distress and sudden death.  Cats infected with heartworms may have no symptoms or have intermittent coughing, secondary heart failure and the early symptoms are often confused with asthma in cats.

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This is an image on Microfilaria (baby heartworms) in the blood.

Heartworm preventatives are incredibly effective at preventing heartworm disease in dogs and cats.  Treatment in dogs lasts many months, is expensive and poses risks to the health of the dog.  At present, there is no treatment available for heartworm disease in cats. Prevention is ALWAYS easier, less expensive and does not cause any lasting damage to the pet.

Cost of 12 months of heartworm prevention 50 lb dog: Approximately $85

Cost of diagnosis and treatment of heartworm disease 50 lb dog: Approximately $500-$1,000

Cost of 12 months preventative cats 5-15 lbs: Approximately $130

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