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Protect Your Dog or Cat from Heartworm Disease


Heartworms are an extremely serious parasitic infection that can be fatal in pets. Heartworm treatment can be long and difficult for a pet, so it’s always easier and better to prevent this condition in the first place. If you live in or around Waldorf, our veterinarians at Waldorf Emergency Care can provide several different preventatives to keep your pet healthy and free of heartworms.

How Do Pets Get Heartworms?

Both dogs and cats, and a few other mammals, can get heartworms. Heartworm larvae are transmitted through infected mosquitos. The mosquitos can transport the larvae of these worms into the bloodstream of your pet. As the worms mature, they grow longer. In dogs, the worms can live through adulthood in the heart and lungs of the animal.

For cats, they are not the best hosts of the worms, and the worms rarely survive into adulthood. In dogs, the worms live long enough to lay eggs of their own, and these heartworms can grow to a foot in length. For cats, there is no heartworm treatment, and the focus is on making the cat comfortable.

Preventing Heartworms

It is much safer for the pet, as well as less expensive for the owner if you give your pet prevention medication. Like tick prevention, it’s a necessary medication that you can only get from your veterinarian. There are monthly medications that require your pet to ingest to prevent this potentially fatal disease.

There is also medication that uses a topical application to prevent heartworms. This easy prevention method can be prescribed after your pet has had a heartworm test. Some heartworm preventatives also have tick prevention built-in, so the one medication can prevent two dangerous parasites.

Veterinary Testing and Treatment

Your pet needs a heartworm test to begin heartworm prevention treatment. Call our veterinarians at Waldorf Emergency Care today at (301) 705-9700 to schedule an appointment or for more information on heartworms.

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