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Symptoms of Heartworms in Dogs and Cats

  
 

Heartworm Disease Symptoms


Pets with Heartworm disease often cough. They find it difficult to exert themselves and don't enjoy exercise. Most pets lose weight, and some develop episodes of fainting. As the disease worsens, cats develop asthma-like symptoms and their hearts enlarge. Dogs experience heart failure so that blood cannot return to the heart and backs up in the liver.

Dogs:
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Edema
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Cats:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing/gagging
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  •   
    Symptoms of heartworms in cats can include  weight loss, difficulty breating, vomiting, and lethargy
      

    How Is Heartworm Disease Diagnosed?


    Heartworm disease is diagnosed with blood tests and X-rays. Blood tests are helpful in 3 ways: they can show tiny microfilaria, the presence of proteins from the adult worms, or the presence of immune antibodies indicating the pet has been stimulated to attack the heartworms. Some pets have blood tests that also show a high level of eosinophils, the type of white blood cell that is elevated in the presence of allergies or parasites.

    X-rays diagnose heartworm disease by revealing an unusually large heart that is expanded on the right side—because it is full of worms. The vessels to the lungs are also unusual: enlarged and tortuous. In some pets, x-rays show an allergic reaction throughout the lungs that is caused by the heartworms.

    Why Does My Pet Need a Blood Test for Heartworm Medication?



    Heartworm medication requires an annual test and a prescription because this medication has the potential to harm—even kill—a pet that is already infected with heartworms.
      

      
    More Information on Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats
      
     

       
     
     
       
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