DIROFILARIOSIS, or heartworm disease,  is a very serious disease which, once infected, often leads to death, but can be easily prevented with regular preventive care. This disease is passed from one animal to another by the bite of a mosquito. All cats and dogs are prone to such infection, no matter if they live indoors or outdoors. That is the reason why we, as veterinarians, suggest that you have your pet checked on early basis with a quick blood test

SYMPTOMS OF THE DISEASE

The pets which were just recently infected show no clinical signs of sickness. In the process of the development of the disease, your dog can start coughing, lose appetite and lack willing for the daily walks. The cats most often start coughing, vomiting and panting. In separate cases, the disease may lead to a sudden and unexpected death.

PREVENTION

As with most health issues, the preventive care is the best protection against dirofilariosis. Our main suggestion is to follow strictly the monthly application of preventive drugs. We also suggest that you perform a yearly quick test for a possible infection.

Even though there is no strict recommendation for the territory of Bulgaria, Nova Veterinary Clinic suggests that you apply the preventive medications all year round. If the owners insist on treating their pets only during the active mosquito season, we would suggest that they start in March and continue until November. Regardless of the method chosen for preventive care, we still suggest that you make a diagnostic checkup for adult parasites once a year.

We believe that the preventive care for the young dogs should start at the age of 8 weeks old.

If there is no preventive care until after the 8th week, we suggest that a diagnostic checkup is performed when the animal is 7-8 months old.

1 Test for an existing infection

2 If the test is negative – preventive medication should be applied

3 Yearly checkup for possible presence of adult parasites

Author: Dr. Dobromir Mitev