Heartworm is a disease that arises through parasitic infestation of Dirofilaria immitis. The dog is the primary host although it can infect cats too and under very rare circumstances even humans. The disease is spread from host to host through the bite of infected mosquitoes. The heartworm inhabits the pulmonary arterial system and the heart of its host. Health problems that arise include damage to the lung vessels and tissues. In serious infections death typically results from congestive heart failure. While dogs all over the United States may become infected with heartworm the risk for infection is higher within 150 miles of the coast from Texas to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River. Many dogs show little to no signs of infection even after the worms become adults. For the first six months of infection, called the prepatent period, the worms are not adults and current diagnostic tests will not be able to detect their presence. Rare symptoms include blindness, seizures, and lameness in the event that a migrating heartworm ends up in the eye, brain or artery in the leg. Sometimes more active dogs will develop a cough. In cases of advanced infection the heartworms will have infested the heart and the animal might exhibits signs of severe weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood, and congestive heart failure finally resulting in death. DV Medical Supply advises clients to encourage preventative treatment among patients.
For four decades, Southern California-based DV Medical Supply, Inc., has served the medical and veterinary professions as a distributor of high-quality supplies and pharmaceuticals. Family-owned since its establishment, DV Medical Supply concentrates on serving its customers as an active partner in the process of creating healthy human and animal communities.
Cat owners can benefit from developing a clear understanding of which vaccinations their pets need. The following represents a basic description of some core vaccinations for most cats, as recommended by a broad cross-section of veterinarians:
A highly contagious disease, feline distemper, or panleukopenia, affects a cat’s nervous and digestive systems, as well as the lymph tissues and bone marrow. Highly effective, the vaccine for this virus presents only low-to-moderate risk.
Another highly contagious viral disease, rabies attacks an animal’s central nervous system and is nearly 100 percent fatal once symptoms appear. Vaccination has proven very effective in preventing rabies.
Vaccinating a cat for feline calicivirus and rhinotracheitis minimizes the severity of these upper respiratory diseases. However, it does not prevent a cat from becoming a disease carrier.
As always, cat owners should consult their pet’s veterinarian for comprehensive information on vaccinations for each animal. A veterinarian will take into account a cat’s age, gender, previous illnesses, lifestyle, and other factors when scheduling vaccinations.