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Vets Urge Owners to Help Prevent Heartworm in Puppies

20 April 2015

AUSTRALIA - The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is urging dog owners to take precautions against heartworm as we prepare for the wetter months.

Heartworm is a parasite that’s passed from animal to animal by the bite of a mosquito.

AVA President Dr Julia Nicholls said that significant mosquito numbers brought about by heavy rain and floods increases the risk of the disease.

“After floods and heavy rain, areas can remain damp for some time, creating the perfect breeding ground for mosquito-borne diseases like heartworm,” she said.

“Heartworm is a serious disease and can be deadly. Parasites can be found in the arteries of the lungs in infected dogs and cats although dogs are considered the most common host for heartworms. Worms multiply and release offspring into the bloodstream, causing heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

“Heartworm can be difficult to treat once a dog or cat has been infected so we recommend that owners visit their local vet for the most appropriate treatment to prevent heartworm. Prevention can be as easy as a once a year injection, spot-ons or monthly tablets,” Dr Nicholls said.

Signs of heartworm include:

  • Lethargy
  • Tiring easily with exercise
  • Coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged or swollen abdomen.

“If you think your dog may be infected you should talk to your vet immediately about specific diagnostic testing and treatments.”

ThePetSite News Desk

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