Heartworm Disease FAQ

We Are Answering Your Heartworm Disease Questions

Heartworm disease is a condition that is caused by tiny worms infesting an animal’s heart and lungs. It can bring about debilitating symptoms and can even cause death. Fortunately, preventative measures are available to keep your pet from getting sick. At The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt in Summerfield, NC, we offer heartworm testing, prevention, and treatment. Here are a few frequently asked questions about heartworm disease we receive from pet owners.


What Is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito draws blood from an infected animal, then transmits the worms to the next animal it bites. These worms enter the host animal’s bloodstream and travel to the heart and lungs. They then grow and reproduce, causing severe symptoms that affect the animal's health.

Can My Pet Catch Heartworm Disease from Other Animals?

No. Heartworm disease can only be transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has the worms. A pet cannot “catch” heartworm disease from an infected animal.

What Are the Symptoms of Heartworm Disease?

In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms in your pet. However, he will eventually develop a cough, show signs of breathing problems, lose appetite, fatigue, and be reluctant to exercise normally.

Is Heartworm Disease Only Found in Dogs?

Canines are a natural host for heartworm disease. However, cats and ferrets can also contract the disease.

How Is Heartworm Disease Diagnosed?

Your vet can use a blood test to indicate whether your pet has heartworms. If the test is positive, your veterinarian will recommend some treatment options for your animal.

Can Heartworm Disease Be Treated?

Injectable medications to kill the worms, rest, and supportive treatment must be administered to preserve your animal’s life and health. You will be required to limit your pet's activities for a period. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the worms from vital organs.

How Can I Prevent Heartworm Disease in My Pet?

Heartworm prevention medications are available in many pet supply stores that help protect animals from getting this disease. You can choose from an oral medication that is administered monthly or a shot injection that offers protection for six months. Animals should receive protection throughout the year.

Protect Your Pet from Heartworm Disease with Preventative Care

We offer many services for pets, including vaccinations, dental care, preventative care, surgery, orthopedic treatment, and emergency care. Call The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt in Summerfield today at 336-643-2229 for an appointment to have your pet tested and to learn about the best ways to prevent heartworm disease in dogs and cats.


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Feedback from our clients

  • "I have been taking my 16 year old lab, Oscar, to this vet since he came to me in 2004, and I wouldn't take any of my dogs anywhere else! They are so wonderful with both pets and people. I would recommend any of the doctors and staff to anyone."
    Erin H
  • "We have been going to another vet for years. We wanted to have our year old Wheaten Terrier, Rylee spayed by laparoscopy so she would have less pain and be back to her usual activity in 2-3 days instead of 10-14 days. Our vet does the traditional spay. We had a consult meet and greet with Dr. Courtney Pierce. She answered all our questions and so friendly and professional. They have a state of the art OR suite. Rylee did great. On post op day three she spotted a squirrel and did an all out chase with no ill effects! All the staff were great."
    Linda A
  • "I love Dr. Jernigan at AHLB and would never take my dog anywhere else! The staff is excellent with animals and always professional, courteous and respectful to owners. I have trusted this animal hospital for all of my dog's care, including check ups, surgeries (she's had three!) and for boarding when we have to go out of town. Every experience I have had here has been wonderful and I highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a veterinary office for their furry children!."
    Avery C