Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases

 In Pet Care

Whether your furry friend spends most of its time outside or prefers to only go out to do its business, there is always a risk of getting bitten by a mosquito or a tick. This may not sound like a big deal, but for a pet who hasn’t had any preventative measures taken, Heartworm and Tick-Borne Diseases that these small insects may carry can make your pet very ill.

What diseases do mosquitos and ticks carry?

An infected mosquito’s bite can transfer microscopic larvae of a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. Because these larvae grow and live in the heart and lungs of dogs and cats, they are commonly known as heartworms.

Ticks can carry a whole host of diseases, most commonly Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis. Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, and hepatozoonosis are a few other nasty conditions that ticks can transmit to pets by biting them.

What symptoms should I watch for?

Sometimes, dogs and cats with heartworm disease may not show any symptoms at all, so it is important to have regular checkups and tests with your vet. Other symptoms may include coughing, weight loss, and breathing issues.

Just like with heartworm disease, pets infected with tick-borne diseases might not display any symptoms. Getting regular testing will ensure that they stay healthy and happy. Some common signs of these illnesses are fever, loss of energy, joint pain, and loss of appetite.

What do I do if my pet displays these symptoms?

If your pet is having any of these symptoms, take them to a vet immediately for a check-up. Testing is available for heartworm disease and tick-borne diseases. If your pet tests positive, your vet will discuss the best course of treatment with you.

What can I do to prevent these diseases?

Schedule regular wellness exams with your veterinarian. During this visit, your vet will not only check your pet for signs of these diseases, but they will go over your options for prevention. They could include medication, vaccines, or collars administered to your furry friend in order to keep the infected pests away. The best prevention method is regular heartworm disease and tick-borne disease testing in combination with preventative medications to ensure that your pet stays their healthiest.

Contact Andes-Straley Veterinary Hospital today to schedule a test or wellness exam for your pet.