A Silent Threat: Understanding and Preventing Heartworm Disease

Your furry friend’s wagging tail and bright eyes easily bring joy to your days, but lurking beyond this happy facade could be a silent threat – heartworm disease. This sneaky illness is contracted via a tiny mosquito bite, particularly in places such as Dothan, a warmer climate where mosquitoes thrive year-round.

The Insidious Nature of Heartworms

Heartworm disease begins when a pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, introducing heartworm larvae into their bloodstream. These larvae can then grow into large worms that inhabit the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of an infected animal, leading to severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and can be potentially fatal if left untreated.

Recognizing the Enemy

In the initial phases, heartworm disease often remains asymptomatic. Yet, as the condition advances, several indicative symptoms may appear. These include a mild but chronic cough, an aversion to physical activity, exhaustion following moderate exertion, a diminished appetite, and weight loss.

A Problem and Its Diagnosis

Heartworm disease can be detected through specific blood tests administered by your veterinarian. Regular veterinary checkups help with early detection and effective plans to help prevent this disease from occurring in your pet. If your pet has been diagnosed with heartworm, there are treatment options, but often require significant limiting of your pet’s activities as well as more expensive treatment plans.

The Battle Against Heartworm

Treatment for heartworm disease can be lengthy and uncomfortable for your pet. Fortunately, there are preventive measures constitute the frontline defense against this disease. There are many options available, ranging from monthly chewables to injections that can provide protection for up to 12 months.

Year-round Vigilance

Preventing heartworm disease is non-negotiable. It’s advised that all pets in Dothan be on year-round heartworm prevention due to the warmth and humidity that provide a thriving environment for mosquitoes.

Even if you have an indoor pet, they are still at risk as mosquitoes can find their way into your home. Therefore, it is imperative to maintain a consistent preventative regimen.

Tips for Heartworm Prevention

  • Consistency is Key: Administer preventive medication as directed.
  • Mark the Calendar: Set reminders for your pet’s medication to ensure timely doses.
  • Regular Checkups: Annual testing for heartworm disease is recommended, even for pets on preventive medication.
  • Visit Our Online Pharmacy: Our online pharmacy makes it easy to order and refill your pet’s heartworm medication.


Heartworm disease is a serious threat to our furry friends. By staying informed, taking preventive measures and maintaining consistency, we can effectively protect our pets from this silent but deadly disease. Consult with your veterinarian about the best preventative options for your pet and make sure to stay vigilant year-round.

We understand your commitment to your pet’s health. In support of your efforts, Westwood Pet Care is offering a special $35 heartworm test for the month of April.

Don’t wait for symptoms to arise. Proactivity is your pet’s best defense. Call (334) 678-8996 to book your appointment or schedule one online on our website.

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