Internal Medicine

Heartworm Prevention Protects Your Dog 

From a Dangerous Parasite

Heartworm is a parasite that takes up residence in a dog's circulatory system. They live in the heart, lungs, and major arteries where they reproduce and grow in numbers. The worms reduce oxygen and blood flows, slowly damaging the dog's organs over time. Do not let heartworm shorten your dog's life. Our veterinarian at Summit Veterinary Hospital in Los Gatos, CA, can help you and your dog with heartworm prevention and give your dog a long and healthy life. Here is a look at heartworm and why you want to prevent it from happening.

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Heartworm is Transmitted by Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes carry heartworm when they are in a larval stage, known as a microfilaria, and transfer them into a dog's bloodstream through their bite. Once the larvae are in the bloodstream, they find their way to the heart, lungs and blood vessels and latch on to the walls of the organs and vessels. After attaching, the heartworm starts to grow and reproduce.

A Heartworm Infection Is Not Immediately Visible

It takes about 6 to 7 months for the microfilariae to mature, mate and begin the reproductive cycle again. They reach anywhere from 4 to 12 inches in length and look like cooked spaghetti. The worms eventually reproduce to a point where they block most of the blood flow through the organs and make it difficult for a dog to breathe. 

Signs of a Heartworm Infection in a Dog

A dog that is normally continually active may start to slow down with no obvious explanation. On the other hand, a mellow dog may seem more lethargic than usual and it is not apparent as to why. Signs of heartworm infection include:

  • Mild to heavy cough
  • Lethargy
  • Tires easily
  • Troubled or labored breathing
  • Heart failure

Stop Heartworm Before It Starts With Help From the Vet

It's possible to prevent heartworm from getting a foothold with regular treatment. There are multiple prescription heartworm meds that are simple to administer and well-tolerated by dogs. Bringing your dog for an annual checkup with the vet will include screening for heartworm and preventative treatment. The vet draws blood to check for the presence of heartworm and prescribe the appropriate medication depending on the results. If a dog is free from heartworm, the vet will prescribe heartworm prevention meds to keep a dog-free and clear from infestation. 


Understanding and Treating Pet Allergies

Most people think that disease and serious illnesses do not affect their pets until they become seniors. However, cats and dogs are at just as much risk of suffering from allergies as we are. Understanding the risks to your pet's health allows you to provide him or her with the quality health care they deserve. Here at Summit Veterinary Hospital in Los Gatos, our team can diagnose your pet's allergies and treat the conditions accordingly.

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Common Sources

Both animals and humans suffer from the same common kinds of allergies. Pollen and grasses flare up and die down at different times of the year, triggering allergic reactions. Irritating particles inhaled or eaten by the animal causes a reaction. It affects the sense of smell in cats and dogs. If your pet seems to have cold-like symptoms during the summer or fall months, they may have an allergy associated with a particular tree or flower in that season.

Food can be another cause of allergies. Not all cat and dog foods are necessarily right for your pet. Some foods contain ingredients safe to most animals but can be harmful to those that are allergic.  Food allergic reactions will frequently make themselves evident through the skin and fur, causing itchy skin patches to develop. Pets can be bad at controlling their scratching and can irritate the skin patch with excessive scratching. The itchy spot has soon turned into a wound with a loss of fur and possible infection. It is essential to understand your pet's skin allergies.

Symptoms of An Allergy Problem

Dog and cat allergies can be very much a case by case situation. If a pet is suffering from an allergic reaction, his or her symptoms will likely be different from another pet suffering the same allergy. However, some common symptoms can be shared and spotted if you know what to watch for. These symptoms include:

  • Dry, flaking skin and rough spots
  • Lots of licking, biting, and chewing the lower body
  • Excessive mucus from the nose or eyes
  • Ear irritations and scratching
  • Lots of sneezing
  • Excessively loud snoring
  • Irritated paws
  • Diarrhea

Contact Us for Pet Care from Our Vets in Los Gatos, CA

There are many home remedies and over-the-counter solutions for pet allergies, but nothing is more beneficial to your pet than bringing him or her in for an exam. We can effectively understand your pet's allergies and help treat them properly. Our team at Summit Veterinary Hospital in Los Gatos provides top-quality care programs for pets and provides specializations in animal allergies. Instead of wondering what is causing a problem, our veterinarians work with accurate information to effectively improve your pet's health. Contact us at (408) 353-1113 to see how we can help your animal feel better.

For more information on Internal Medicine services we provide, please contact us or call us at (408) 353-1113.

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