Although canine heartworm has been diagnosed in all 50 states within the U.S., pet owners still have a lot of misconceptions about this disease, especially when it comes to infection risks. The truth is that canine heartworm is extremely serious and can be fatal in an overwhelming number of cases. We debunked some other common myths about heartworm in a previous post, but there are more that continue to be incorrectly regarded as fact. If you are concerned that your pet may have heartworm or you think you may have missed a preventative heartworm dose, a canine heartworm antigen test kit can give you the information you need to help your furry friend. Because the best way to keep your pets safe is prevention and knowledge, we’ve dispelled a few more myths and conceptions about canine heartworm.
MYTH: Year-round heartworm prevention is unnecessary.
Reality: Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, so if you live in an area with long, cold winters, you may think that preventative methods aren’t necessary during that season. But mosquitoes are unpredictable, and they can show up on an unseasonably warm day when there’s still snow on the ground. Even if you live in a dry climate with few mosquitoes, it takes only one bite to infect a dog. And if you’re concerned about year-round preventative treatment costs, consider the fact that it’s actually a bargain in comparison to heartworm treatment costs. If your pet gets a positive diagnosis through a canine heartworm antigen test kit, you may have to pay up to $1,000 to make him or her well again. Don’t take a risk with your pet’s health; make sure you use preventative methods throughout the year.
MYTH: Heartworm symptoms are easy to spot.
Reality: Some dogs may show no signs of heartworm disease at all. That’s why it’s imperative that you give preventative doses and utilize canine heartworm antigen test kits. And even when dogs show signs of the disease, you may not connect the dots. Common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, and physical fatigue. In later stages of the disease, you may notice weight loss or serious respiratory problems. In some cases, pets may seem to die very suddenly, so you need to catch this condition early. If you’re concerned about your pet or just want some peace of mind, use a canine heartworm antigen test kit or make an appointment with your veterinarian.
MYTH: Cats can’t get heartworm disease.
Reality: While it’s not as common, our feline friends can definitely contract heartworm, too. Cats that are kept outdoors are especially vulnerable, but even a kitty that stays inside can be infected if she’s bitten by a wayward mosquito. The disease is actually more serious for cats because they tend to hide when they’re in pain, and unfortunately, there’s currently no treatment for cats who are diagnosed. In some cats, infections can resolve on their own, but others can have lasting damage or may die very suddenly. Prevention and prompt veterinary care are vital.
If you suspect your dog or cat may have heartworm, you cannot afford to ignore the signs. Be sure to see your vet or use a canine heartworm antigen test kit to ensure your pet can receive a definitive diagnosis and subsequent treatment.