MJ Wixsom: Protect pets during heartworm surge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 1, 2023

The recent surge in heartworm cases in Kentucky is a cause for serious concern.

Heartworm Disease is on the Rise in our area.  Pet owners, we have a problem on our hands. This spring, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented

increase in heartworm cases, a staggering eight cases – a number we haven’t encountered in the past decade. 

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Heartworm disease is a silent threat, transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes, which are prevalent in our region during the warm months.

Heartworm disease is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition. 

The parasitic worms can grow in size (up to a foot long), eventually clogging the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of our beloved pets. The consequences are severe, leading to heart failure, organ damage, and in severe cases, death.

Prevention is the best Line of Defense! Preventing heartworm disease is far more manageable and cost-effective than treating an infected pet.

The American Heartworm Society and the Center for Animal Parasite

Council strongly recommend year-round heartworm preventive medication for all dogs and cats, no matter their lifestyle.

Heartworm preventives are available in various forms – chewables, topical treatments, and injections. Discuss with your veterinarian to

find the most suitable option for your pet. Consistent and timely administration of preventives is key to safeguarding your furry companions.

Treating heartworm disease is an arduous and expensive process. It involves blood tests, X-rays, and a series of medications to eliminate the adult worms. Additionally, during treatment, pets must be kept calm and inactive to avoid complications as the worms die off.

Unfortunately, treatment is not without risks. As the adult worms perish, they can cause severe inflammation and blockage in the blood vessels, posing serious health risks to your pets. Prevention is undoubtedly the better and safer option.

Pet Owners, it’s time to take this threat seriously. Don’t underestimate the danger of heartworm disease. Make sure your pets are protected with year-round preventive medication. Regular visits to your veterinarian are essential to keep your pets healthy and heartworm-free.

Let’s combat this surge in heartworm cases together. Protect your pets, and let’s keep our pet community safe and healthy!

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566