Pet owners: Beware of devastating heart problem in pets

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- One of the biggest threats to your family pet is so small, many don’t see it: the mosquito. It’s the carrier of a dangerous parasite, the heartworm, and our pets are threatened with infection year-round.

Dr. Eugenia Tam of Adams Farm Animal Hospital explains the heartworm’s life cycle.

“A mosquito will bite your pet, it will transmit the parasite through the bloodstream where it will go and live in the heart. Over time, these parasites will grow, proliferate, and it can cause right-sided heart disease and right-sided heart failure.”

This is a devastating heart problem and guaranteed to be fatal if it’s not treated. The problem is, treatment is really hard on pets (usually dogs) and very expensive for pet owners.

Luckily, there are heartworm preventatives available for between $5 and $15 per month. They need to be given year-round, whether the pet is indoors or outdoors, and they are specifically geared to either cats or dogs.