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Warmer weather could mean heartworm disease in pets

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- With the spring season approaching, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your pet from heartworm disease, a potentially deadly infection.

Veterinarian Diego Munoz, with High Point Veterinary Hospital, says it’s a parasite that’s transmitted by mosquitoes. Pet owners should consider taking precautions as temperatures start to rise.

One way to protect your animal is through preventative heartworm disease medicine, which can come in the forms of pills that are taken monthly or shots that can last for months.

Taking preventative medicine could save a pet owner hundreds of dollars, if not more, down the road. While experts stress the importance of preventative heartworm disease treatments, it is possible for a animal to get heartworms while on the medicine.

“We recommend doing preventative medicine year-round,” Munoz said.

He also stresses the importance of getting your pet tested for heartworms during the animal’s yearly appointment, because pets often don't show symptoms at the beginning of the infection. If a pet is infected, veterinarians can start the process of antibiotics and other treatments to try and get rid of the heartworms.

Munoz’s veterinary hospital is already seeing pets coming in with heartworms. He says the mosquito season has already started and pet owners need to be mindful of the disease.