I’m sure you know that mosquitoes spread deadly diseases like Malaria, Dengue and the recent Chikungunya. However, not many are aware that mosquitoes can spread a dreadful parasite called Heartworm to your beloved. Though rarely seen in humans, it’s quite a common occurrence when owners bring their newly adopted pet for a checkup.
The issue with heartworm is that it takes approximately 7 years for the parasite to mature and when the symptoms start showing, irreversible damage might have already been done to the heart and lungs, very much like heatstroke. Unfortunately for most pet owners, there is a mix of ignorance and complacency – If their pet seemed healthy, there isn’t anything wrong. Plus, we like to shroud ourselves with denial – that we aren’t that unlucky. But please! We live in Singapore, ticks, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, they are active all year round!
Easy to prevent
Here’s the good news, there are easier methods to preventing heartworm than applying mosquito repellent on poochy everyday. These methods come in the form of monthly topical applications like Revolution, oral medications like Heartguard and yearly injections. That said, because these preventive medications are useless against existing heartworms and in some cases it might even be life threatening, hence it’s important that you have your pet checked for heartworm before they start on any medications.
And you might have guessed it, if you have been skipping your heartworm prevention, make sure you have your pet tested again.
To be honest, there is little point in discussing the symptoms of heartworm. First as mentioned, it’s usually a tad late and secondly, the symptoms looks like a simple flu or any other disease. But if your dog shows sign of lethargy, coughing and/or breathing difficulties. So especially when your pet is old or long into adulthood and shows these signs, please do not rule out heartworm.
Still the best thing to do, get a test done today. It takes around 15 minutes for the blood test results to be out and generally costs $50 – $100 depending on where you go.