There are two broad categories of worms that may affect our pet dogs and cats, heartworm and intestinal worms. Please see our intestinal worm page for more information.
Heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis, is a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes, so you pet does not even need to be in contact with other pets to become infected! In Townsville heartworm infections are on the increase.
Heartworm has a complicated life cycle. Infected dogs have microfilaria, an immature form of heartworm, circulating in their bloodstream. Microfilariae are sucked up by mosquitoes when feeding on the blood of infected dogs. The immature parasite develops into a heartworm larva inside the mosquito, then a single bite from a carrier mosquito can infect your pet (dog or cat). As the worms mature in the heart they can cause a physical blockage as well as thickening of the heart and associated blood vessels. In the earlystages of infection there may be no visible signs, however, infection may eventually lead to signs of heart failure (reluctance to exercise, lethargy,coughing) and even death.
Heartworm is present in Townsville and there are always lots of mozzies around so dogs should be on year round heartworm prevention from a pup.
Thankfully, heartworm is very easy to prevent and should form part of your pet health care routine. We have very effective preventative treatment options available including tablets, chews, spot-on's and even an annual injection for dogs administered by one of our vets.
The annual heartworm injection is great because you don't need to remember to give a preventative every month. We can give your dog the injection and then organise reminders to be sent to you the following year when they are due.
If your pet has not been on heartworm prevention, or you haven't been consistent with monthly products your dog will need a quick test first before starting a prevention program, followed by a repeat test 6 months after commencing.
Please call Bohle Vet Surgery Townsville on 4751 6677 to discuss the best heartworm testing, prevention or treatment for your pet.