Ensure Your Pets Are Heartworm-Free with Regular Veterinary Visits

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There are an estimated 70 to 80 million dogs and 74 to 96 million cats living in households throughout the United States. Americans love their pets, and most pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be part of the family. In fact, a PetFinder.com poll showed that 63% of dog owners and 58% of cat owners even give gifts to their pets at Christmas. Chances are that they give them gifts and otherwise celebrate them on birthdays as well.

Unfortunately, many puppies and older dogs can become infected with heartworms. It is estimated that this occurs with at least 1 million dogs every year. Cats can also become infected with heartworms.

Once a dog becomes infected, they may have 30 or more worms in their heart and lungs. Cats, however, may have 6 or less. In some cases, they may only have 1 or 2 heartworms at a time.

When determining the severity of heartworm disease in dogs, it pertains to the number of worms with which they’re infected. With cats, however, a single worm or 2 can cause them to be extremely ill.

It’s important to know that preventative measures can be taken. Since it can cost up to $1,000.00 to treat heartworm disease, taking monthly preventative measures can save costs. Furthermore, since pets are part of the family, taking preventative measures makes a difference because no one wants to see or experience their pets suffering.

When puppies are less than 7 months old, for example, they can begin receiving preventative measures. While some pet owners may want to have a heartworm test administered beforehand, this isn’t necessary. This is because it usually takes a minimum of 6 months after being infected for puppies to test positive.

After puppies have begun receiving preventative measures, they should be tested in 6 months following their first visit to the veterinarian. Unless otherwise recommended by their veterinarian, they should be tested in another 6 months to ensure that they’re free of heartworms. Once it’s been determined that they are heartworm-free, annual check-ups are recommended. In addition to checking for the presence of heartworms, these check-ups are important to ensure that puppies and older dogs are in optimal health.

Pet owners can administer a cat or dog heartworm test at home. These tests would then be sent to veterinary diagnostics companies that provide veterinary clinical diagnostics. Veterinary diagnostics companies also provide other valuable services for pet owners that include evaluating Parvo test kits.

If you’re interested in learning more about the procedures and services that are available through veterinary diagnostics companies, you can contact them directly.