The Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Pets

Heartworm transmission occurs through the bites of infected mosquitoes

Heartworm disease has been increasingly reported in recent years in dogs and cats. Transmission occurs through the bites of infected mosquitoes. In some pets, particularly cats, there may be no clinical symptoms observed. In many pets, particularly dogs, increasing respiratory difficulty, including coughing and shortness of breath is often observed. Nonspecific symptoms of lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite will occur in many pets. In some pets with severe infections, abdominal distention from right-sided heart failure also may occur. While symptoms may suggest heartworm infection, the only definitive diagnostic test is through a blood test performed by a veterinarian.

Remember, it is always better to prevent heartworm with appropriate heartworm preventative medication than to treat heartworm disease.

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