**IMPORTANT** – Heartworm cases in Upper Hunter

05/09/2018 0

There are been several confirmed cases of heartworm in both the Scone and Muswellbrook areas.  It is vital that you have your dog tested and protected from this disease.  In order to map the spread of this disease, Pet Medical is offering FREE heartworm tests if the injectable preventative is used.

“This is the first time we’ve seen a heartworm case in the Upper Hunter in Pet Medical’s history of nearly 10 years.  It is alarming.  As vets who are passionate about animal welfare we feel it is our duty of care to do whatever we can to identify any other cases and protect our animal friends.” Dr Peta Gay Railton, Pet Medical Director.

One of the biggest challenges with heartworm disease is that it usually takes a few years (at least three) for pets to display the symptoms, so they can be carrying the disease without knowing it.

Whilst heartworm disease is actually spread by mosquitos, it is not exclusive to tropical climates.   Cats can also get heartworms after being bitten by an infected mosquito although they are not as susceptible. Any canine animals can become infected so this carries over to foxes and dingos too.

Once there are a few worms in the heart, the animal will appear generally unwell and cough. This will progress to a chronic, harsh cough with an emaciated appearance.

“Treating heartworm disease is difficult and expensive. Left untreated, the heartworms move from the heart, into the lungs and surrounding blood vessels. We have to monitor constantly and handle very carefully to save the infected animal and we cannot guarantee they’ll survive.” Dr Railton.


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