Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Heartworm

When it comes to heartworm, there are many myths that need to be debunked.

Heartworm is a disease that is transferred to pets when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes, and it can be incredibly serious. Unfortunately, there are many myths out there about heartworm that lead people to believe that preventative measures are unnecessary, and this puts pets at risk. That’s why your premier Carroll Gardens’ animal hospital has set out to help you discover the truth about the most common heartworm myths.

Myth #1. Cats don’t get heartworm.

While it’s true that, compared to cats, dogs are certainly at a higher risk for getting heartworm, this doesn’t mean that cats are immune. When cats are exposed to heartworm larvae, around 75 percent become infected, which is certainly better odds than the 100 percent of dogs that will become infected, but the odds still aren’t great. Additionally, there are fewer heartworm treatment options for cats than there are for dogs, which means that prevention is the best and easiest way to keep both dogs and cats healthy.

Myth #2. Heartworm disease is only a concern during the summer.

Because heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes are most prevalent during the summer, many pet owners don’t believe that they have to worry about heartworm disease throughout the fall and winter, but that’s simply not the case. The fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict when mosquitoes will appear, and that’s becoming even more difficult with warming climates that extend the active season for mosquitoes. When it comes to your pet’s health, never take a chance.

Myth #3. Only outdoor pets are at risk for getting heartworm.

Pets who spend most of their time outside, particularly those who spend their time by the water, are certainly at a higher risk than pets who spend all of their time inside. But, this doesn’t mean that keeping your pets inside is a surefire way to eliminate the risk altogether. Whether it be through an open door or window, or through air leaks in the home, infected mosquitoes can find their way inside and make your indoor pet sick. In fact, around a quarter of all cats that have been diagnosed with heartworm disease are indoor cats.

Myth #4. If your pet is on a preventative, there’s no need to get them tested for heartworm.

Heartworm preventatives are very effective, but that doesn’t means that they are 100-percent foolproof 100 percent of the time. Furthermore, even the best and most attentive pet owners can sometimes forget to give their pet a dose of their heartworm preventative. Getting your pest tested for heartworm every year ensures that the preventative is working as it should be.

Myth #5. Heartworm disease is not all that serious.

Contrary to popular belief, heartworm is a devastating disease that can be potentially fatal if it’s left untreated. It impacts the lungs and heart, and it can cause permanent damage to the pulmonary blood vessels. If heartworm is not treated, it can lead to heart failure in dogs and lung disease in cats. Not only can heartworm be fatal, but for pets that do survive, it can have a major impact on their quality of life.

Is your pet due for a heartworm test?

Regardless of whether or not your pet is on a heartworm preventative, it’s important to get them tested every year. This is also the perfect time for our veterinarian to examine your pet to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Schedule your appointment with us at The Vet Set today.

In our next blog, we’ll be debunking a few more myths about heartworm disease, so make sure that you stay tuned!

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