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April is
Heartworm Disease
Awareness Month!
10% Off Heartworm Tests &
12 Months of Heartworm Prevention!
5% Off 6 months o...
What are Heartworms?
• Heartworms are a parasite that enter a
dog or cat from an infected mosquito bite
and invade the hea...
What causes K9 Heartworms?
• Adult heartworms are found in the heart and adjacent
large blood vessels of infected dogs. Ra...
What is the life cycle of a
heartworm?
• The life cycle of the heartworm is complicated; the parasite requires the
mosquit...
Where is heartworm disease found?
• Canine heartworm disease occurs all over the world. In
the United States, it was once ...
How is heartworm disease spread?
• Since transmission requires the mosquito as an intermediate
host, the disease is not sp...
What do heartworms do to my pet?
• It usually takes several years before dogs show clinical signs of infection. The
diseas...
How is heartworm
disease diagnosed?
• In most cases, one or more simple blood tests will diagnose
heartworm disease. Furth...
Microfilariae Testing
• A blood sample is centrifuged and then examined under
the microscope for the presence of microfila...
Other important tests:
• CBC, Chemistry & electrolytes – tells us what
your pets overall organ function is and if it is sa...
How is heartworm disease treated?
• There is some risk involved in treating dogs with
heartworms, although fatalities are ...
First we kill the microfilariae…
• If your dog tests positive for microfilariae
then he will come in for the day and be
gi...
Second we prepare for treatment…
• When your pet is diagnosed, and is free of
microfilariae, we send you home with 6 month...
First part of treatment…
• After 30 days of antibiotics and 2 months of
heartworm prevention, your pet can start the
“adul...
Second part of treatment…
• When your pet returns for the 2nd treatment he
will get 2 injections and stay with us for 2 ni...
Life after heartworms?
• Typically dogs recover to their normal self
after heartworm treatment. Some owners
report their d...
Can my dog get
heartworms after treatment?
• YES!!!!!
• Your dog or cat needs to be on a monthly
heartworm prevention year...
What about cats?
• Cats can get heartworm disease too but
it’s different. They only get one giant
worm! The catch is, they...
How do you prevent heartworm
disease in your pet?
• This part is easy! Start you puppy or kitten
on heartworm prevention r...
Prevention for Dogs:
• Monthly Pills• Monthly Topicals
Prevention for Cats:
• Monthly Pills• Monthly Topicals
Is it expensive for prevention?
• Compare the cost of $500-$1000 for
treatment? (Without complications) to the
monthly pre...
“My pet doesn’t go outside” &
“There are no mosquitoes in the winter”
• Famous last words! News Flash! We are in the
south...
Ways to save $$$$...
• Prevention is cheaper than treatment
• Buy in bulk vs. a single pill every month
• Coupons & rebate...
What about internet pet stores?
• Buying directly from your vet is safest; that
way we know what you are getting and
that ...
Don’t let mosquitoes and
heartworms suck the life out of
your pet OR your wallet!
Test your pet and start them on
preventi...
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Heartworm Awareness Month

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Transcript of "Heartworm Awareness Month"

  1. 1. April is Heartworm Disease Awareness Month! 10% Off Heartworm Tests & 12 Months of Heartworm Prevention! 5% Off 6 months of Heartworm Prevention!
  2. 2. What are Heartworms? • Heartworms are a parasite that enter a dog or cat from an infected mosquito bite and invade the heart. That is gross! I’m gonna be sick!
  3. 3. What causes K9 Heartworms? • Adult heartworms are found in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels of infected dogs. Rarely, worms may be found in other parts of the circulatory system. The female worm is 6 to 14 inches long (15 to 36 cm) and 1/8 inch wide (5 mm). The male is about half the size of the female. One dog may have as many as 300 worms present when diagnosed. • Adult heartworms may live up to five years and, during this time, the female produces millions of offspring called microfilaria. These microfilariae live mainly in the small vessels of the bloodstream.
  4. 4. What is the life cycle of a heartworm? • The life cycle of the heartworm is complicated; the parasite requires the mosquito as an intermediate host before it can complete its life cycle in the dog. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes can transmit heartworms. • The life cycle begins when a female mosquito bites an infected dog and ingests the microfilariae during a blood meal. The microfilariae develop further for 10 to 30 days in the mosquito's gut and then enter its mouthparts. At this stage, they are infective larvae and can complete their maturation when they enter a dog. The infective larvae enter the dog's body when the mosquito bites the dog. They migrate into the blood stream and move to the heart and adjacent blood vessels, maturing to adults, mating and reproducing microfilariae within 6-7 months. Some assembly required!!!
  5. 5. Where is heartworm disease found? • Canine heartworm disease occurs all over the world. In the United States, it was once limited to the south and southeast regions. • The highest numbers of reported cases are still within 150 miles of the Gulf of Mexico & Atlantic Ocean.
  6. 6. How is heartworm disease spread? • Since transmission requires the mosquito as an intermediate host, the disease is not spread directly from pet to pet. Spread of the disease therefore coincides with mosquito season, which can last year-round in many parts of the United States (North Carolina is one of these states). The number of dogs/cats infected & the length of the mosquito season are directly correlated with the incidence of heartworm disease in any given area. • The mosquito usually bites the dog where the hair coat is thinnest. However, having long hair certainly does not prevent a dog or cat from getting heartworms. Excuse me, can we get that in dog & cat size? “There ain’t no bugs on me…”
  7. 7. What do heartworms do to my pet? • It usually takes several years before dogs show clinical signs of infection. The disease is rare in dogs less than one year of age because the microfilariae take five to seven months to mature into adult heartworms after infection. Unfortunately, by the time clinical signs are seen, the disease is usually well advanced. • Adult heartworms cause disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels leading from the heart. They also interfere with the valve action in the heart. By clogging the main blood vessel, the blood supply to other organs of the body is reduced, particularly blood flow to the lungs, liver and kidneys, leading to malfunction of these organs. • The signs of heartworm disease depend on the number of adult worms present, the location of the worms, the length of time the worms have been in the dog and the degree of damage that has been sustained by the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. • The most obvious clinical signs of heartworm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness, and loss of stamina. In advanced cases, congestive heart failure may be apparent and the abdomen and legs will swell from fluid accumulation. There may also be evidence of weight loss, poor condition, and anemia. Severely infected dogs may die suddenly during exercise or excitement. • Microfilariae (immature heartworms) circulate throughout the body but remain primarily in the small blood vessels. Because they are about as wide as the small vessels, they may block blood flow in these vessels. The cells being supplied by these vessels are then deprived of the nutrients and oxygen normally supplied by the blood. Microfilariae primarily injure the lungs and liver.
  8. 8. How is heartworm disease diagnosed? • In most cases, one or more simple blood tests will diagnose heartworm disease. Further diagnostic tests are essential to determine if the dog can safely undergo heartworm disease treatment. • We use an in-house antigen test. This test detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. It is the most widely used test because it detects antigens (proteins) produced by adult heartworms. It will be positive even if the dog does not have any microfilariae in the bloodstream (approximately 20% of cases). Dogs with less than four or five adult heartworms may not have produced enough circulating antigen to produce a positive test result, so there may be an occasional false negative result in dogs with a low burden of parasites, or in the early stages of infection. Because the detected antigen is only produced by the female heartworm, a population of only male heartworms will also give a false negative. Therefore, there must be at least four to five female worms for a positive result by this test.
  9. 9. Microfilariae Testing • A blood sample is centrifuged and then examined under the microscope for the presence of microfilariae (baby heartoworms). If microfilariae are seen, the test is positive. The number of microfilariae seen gives us a general indication of the severity of the infection. Approximately 20% of dogs do not test positive for micofilariae, even though they have heartworms, because their immune system has acquired the ability to destroy the microfilariae.
  10. 10. Other important tests: • CBC, Chemistry & electrolytes – tells us what your pets overall organ function is and if it is safe to start heartworm treatment. • X-Rays/Echo – shows us if there is heart enlargement which can warn us about potential future problems during heartworm treatment • EKG – shows us if there are abnormal heart rhythms
  11. 11. How is heartworm disease treated? • There is some risk involved in treating dogs with heartworms, although fatalities are now rare. • In the past, the drug used to treat heartworms contained high levels of arsenic and toxic side effects occurred more frequently. A new drug is available that does not have as many side effects, allowing successful treatment of more than 95% of dogs with heartworms. • When some dogs are diagnosed, they have advanced heartworm disease. This means that the heartworms have been present long enough to cause substantial damage to the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, and liver. Your veterinarian will advise you on the best treatment approach for dogs diagnosed with advanced heartworm disease.
  12. 12. First we kill the microfilariae… • If your dog tests positive for microfilariae then he will come in for the day and be given a steroid injection and his 1st dose of heartworm prevention. This kills the microfilariae!
  13. 13. Second we prepare for treatment… • When your pet is diagnosed, and is free of microfilariae, we send you home with 6 months of heartworm pills and an antibiotic that he takes for 30 days. • During this time your pet should come in for “staging”. This is when we do bloodwork and xrays to see how advanced the heartworm disease is and make a treatment plan.
  14. 14. First part of treatment… • After 30 days of antibiotics and 2 months of heartworm prevention, your pet can start the “adulticide” treatment. • For their first treatment they come into the hospital & get their 1st injection and stay overnight for monitoring. They go home the following day with pain medications & have 30 days of strict confinement – no activity! The drug kills the adult worms and causes them to break apart – too much activity can cause them to form a life threatening clot.
  15. 15. Second part of treatment… • When your pet returns for the 2nd treatment he will get 2 injections and stay with us for 2 nights. Then return home again for another 30 days of R&R. After that he can return to normal activity. • 6 months after the last injection we will test your pet and he should be free of heartworms! Ahhhh. Doctor’s orders. No stress, just relax!
  16. 16. Life after heartworms? • Typically dogs recover to their normal self after heartworm treatment. Some owners report their dogs are happier and more energetic, gain weight and overall have renewed vitality!
  17. 17. Can my dog get heartworms after treatment? • YES!!!!! • Your dog or cat needs to be on a monthly heartworm prevention year round! Never miss a dose or your pet could be infected again! Please give me pills every month! I don’t want to do this again!
  18. 18. What about cats? • Cats can get heartworm disease too but it’s different. They only get one giant worm! The catch is, they can’t be treated!! Once your cat gets heartworms, they will have it for the life of the heartworm! • Prevent feline heartworm disease before they get it! There is monthly prevention for them too!
  19. 19. How do you prevent heartworm disease in your pet? • This part is easy! Start you puppy or kitten on heartworm prevention right away! There are safe products for even the smallest of puppies and kittens. • Adults (over 1 year of age) dogs should be started once you have a negative heartworm test.
  20. 20. Prevention for Dogs: • Monthly Pills• Monthly Topicals
  21. 21. Prevention for Cats: • Monthly Pills• Monthly Topicals
  22. 22. Is it expensive for prevention? • Compare the cost of $500-$1000 for treatment? (Without complications) to the monthly prevention which can be as low as $6.00/month, for a basic pill, up to $25/month for a product that covers heartworms, intestinal parasites and fleas! Trust me, your money is better spent on prevention!
  23. 23. “My pet doesn’t go outside” & “There are no mosquitoes in the winter” • Famous last words! News Flash! We are in the south and with global warming we see mosquitoes every month of the year and your pet doesn’t even have to go outside to get bit! You can bring the mosquitoes in with you! • The majority of pets that get HWD have these comments documented in their records where their owners have declined prevention! Say it ain’t so!!!!
  24. 24. Ways to save $$$$... • Prevention is cheaper than treatment • Buy in bulk vs. a single pill every month • Coupons & rebates Cat food – check Food bowls – check Cat toys – check 12 months of heartworm prevention… Check, check & double check!
  25. 25. What about internet pet stores? • Buying directly from your vet is safest; that way we know what you are getting and that it is authentic product! • Manufacture guarantees only apply to products bought directly from your vet! • Rocky Point Animal Hospital has an online store where you can buy prevention for the same price as big internet pharmacies, but with product guarantees!
  26. 26. Don’t let mosquitoes and heartworms suck the life out of your pet OR your wallet! Test your pet and start them on prevention TODAY! 10% Off during the month of April!
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