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Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Treatment at The Honolulu Pet Clinic

At our AAHA accredited animal hospital, The Honolulu Pet Clinic, our staff offers both heartworm treatment and prevention services for local pet parents!

veterinarian examining a dog

Heartworms: What They are & How They Affect Your Cat or Dog

Heartworms live and grow inside blood vessels of certain mammals (e.g., coyotes, foxes, cats, dogs). They are transmitted to pets via mosquito bites, where they grow into adults (reaching lengths of up to 12 inches!) and eventually produce offspring. In dogs, hundreds at a time can live inside them for up to 7 years (if left untreated). Cats typically will only have 1 or 2 heartworms living inside them for up to 3 years.

For both species, however, the potential consequences of a heartworm infestation is dire. As heartworms grow, they block the flow of blood to vital organs like the heart and lungs. Heartworm infestations can be deadly.

Signs of a Heartworm Infestation

The following are signs of a potential heartworm infestation in dogs (which typically don't show up until at least 6 months after initial infestation):

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Excessive fatigue and reluctance to exercise
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss 
  • Abdominal distention due to fluid excess (secondary to heart failure)
  • Sudden collapse and death

In cats, heartworm presentation can fall on either extreme (subtle or dramatic), including coughing, asthma-like breathing difficulties, difficulty with walking, and in some cases sudden collapse and death. 

Heartworm Prevention

We advise local pet parents to have their animals tested for heartworms once per year. The earlier heartworm disease is detected, then the earlier treatment can begin and the greater chances of your pet having a full recovery (remember, too, that heartworm disease doesn't typically show any signs until several months after initial exposure).

If heartworms are detected via a blood test, we'll initiate the appropriate treatment, which may include surgical removal of blockages, IV fluids, and medications to correct/support secondary complications (e.g., heart failure). 

Of course, the far less stressful and less expensive solution is to prevent heartworms. You can do this easily by giving your pet a once monthly heartworm prevention pill every month through the course of its life. We'll make sure your pet always receives the right dose depending on its breed and weight.

Is Your Pet Protected Against Heartworms? Call our Honolulu Veterinarian Today

Our Honolulu veterinary team is dedicated to pet wellness; that's why we offer comprehensive parasite prevention and treatment for animals of all breeds and ages. To schedule your pet's next veterinary appointment at The Honolulu Pet Clinic, contact us now at (808) 593-9336.

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