GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Warmer weather brings a heightened danger of heartworm disease in dogs, let alone all domestic animals.
The problem is that heartworm disease may not show symptoms until it has progressed to a dangerous point in dogs and cats, says Dr. Kirsten Marshall of Bridges Animal Hospital in Ada . That's why prevention is so important.
The heartworm parasite is carried by mosquitoes, and dogs are a natural host for the parasite. An infected dog can have dozens of heartworms in the heart, while an infected cat will have only a few that typically take hold in the lungs.
Prevention is easy, however. Applications are usually available in a monthly oral form that pets eat readily. Some applications are topical, applied to the skin, which absorbs the medication.
Prevention medications are available at your vet. And it's a good idea to have your pet tested regularly, about twice a year.