Ok, I have been promisin’ to get back here and tell y’all about my brother. Well, on his his first vet appointment, right after we got him, he got some really sad news. It seems by living in that cage where he came from, oh excuse me – pen outside, he has gotten the dreaded heartworm disease and it is pretty bad 🙁
So, what are heartworms?
Heartworms are a long, spaghetti lookin’ worm that can be anywhere from 6 to 14 inches long. The female worms are longer than the male heartworms. Eeek! How would you like that crawlin’ around inside your heart? From what I understand heartworm disease is not fun at all!
How do ya get heartworms?
You get heartworms from sqitters (mosquitos as my Lady calls ’em). The sqitter bites and plants it’s larva in the bloodstream and there ya are! I don’t know where y’all live, but down here in the south where we live, we have sqitters that can carry you away! Just imagine two years of livin’ out there in thousands of ’em! How many of you would like to spend a night outside with ’em eatin’ on you?
Heartworms aren’t spread from one animal to another, they need a sqitter to complete their life cycle. Them little blood suckers bite an animal that is already infected and then bites another animal and leaves its larva in their bloodstream. That animal is now infected. It only takes the heartworm 90 days or less to make it to the heart. If there are males and females, well ya know what that means! They start reproducin’ in about 6 months after the skitter bit ’em. It just goes on and on from there.
Dogs and cats can get it whether they are inside or outside, but definitely worse if they are out there with the sqitters eatin’ on ’em!
How do ya prevent heartworms?
Around here, my Lady makes us come inside when the sqitters come out. We also take some kind of heartworm medicine to keep us from gettin’ em. My sister, Maggie, and me have to get a shot every six months to prevent them. My other sister, Sallie, is to old for the shot so she has to take a chewable tablet each month to prevent them. All this AND we get to be inside where there aren’t any sqitters 🙂 Why did them people not at least give Seager some of that medicine? Who knows? Anyway, your vet will know which medicine is best for your pet. Ya just gotta do what they tell ya and don’t miss any doses!
How are heartworms treated?
So, now we have to deal with them dreaded heartworms. Right now, Seager still plays and seems alright. He gets tired easier than I do and he breathes hard a lot of the time though. The vet started him on some medicines. If your pet has them, your vet will know the best thing to do for them. All I know is, these medicines will help prevent the heartworms from gettin’ any worse but it won’t cure them. We can’t give these medicines forever. When the weather cools off, in a couple of months, they will start the real treatments to try and get rid of ’em. Seager is in for a rough time of it! It’s not gonna be easy on him and I really hate that. I have really been a likin’ my new brother! Him and me have become best friends and play all the time!
My Lady is doin’ the best she can gettin’ him what he needs. We hope that he will be ok. When they start treatments, he won’t get to run and play while they are treatin’ him. He has to be kept quite and calm. It has something to do with the heartworms a dying and cloggin’ up his heart. Keepin’ Seager calm might present a problem, but I’m sure we will get through it.
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