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Preventing heartworm in your pet is easy

Posted at 9:09 AM, Apr 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-20 09:09:11-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Warmer weather brings a heightened danger of heartworm disease in dogs, let alone all domestic animals.

The problem is that heartworm disease may not show symptoms until it has progressed to a dangerous point in dogs and cats, says Dr. Kirsten Marshall of Bridges Animal Hospital in Ada . That's why prevention is so important.

The heartworm parasite is carried by mosquitoes, and dogs are a natural host for the parasite. An infected dog can have dozens of heartworms in the heart, while an infected cat will have only a few that typically take hold in the lungs.

Prevention is easy, however. Applications are usually available in a monthly oral form that pets eat readily. Some applications are topical, applied to the skin, which absorbs the medication.

Prevention medications are available at your vet. And it's a good idea to have your pet tested regularly, about twice a year.