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San Juan Animal Hospital
 
 
Heartworm Disease

What is it? Heartworm is a blood parasite (8-12 inches long) that lives in the heart and in the large vessels around the heart.

How is it transmitted? Mosquitoes spread the disease among animals (domestic and wild).

Is it seen around here? Prior to 1998, it was not considered to be a problem here. Since then, every local practice has seen cases in dogs that have not traveled out of South Orange County . It is an epidemic in North San Diego County .

What are the symptoms? The signs of advances disease (1-2 years after infection) are those of heart failure: difficulty breathing, coughing, and tiring easily.

Who is at risk? Andy dog that goes outside at all is at some risk. The more time spent outside, the more the risk.

What should I do? The current suggestion is to test your pet to be certain that it isn't already infected, and then to begin a monthly course of medicine in order to prevent the disease. The medicine is a prescription drug, so a current annual physical exam is required. We treat year-round here, since our "winter" is so short, and test dogs every year to be sure they have been adequately protected.

Feel free to call the office for an appointment for the exam and test, or we can perform these while your dog is here for any other reason (bathing, boarding, surgery and so on).
  San Juan Animal Hospital treats  Heartworm Disease