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National Heartworm Awareness Month – April 2023

National Heartworm Awareness Month, observed in April, aims to bring awareness to all pet owners about the deadly heartworm disease and how they can prevent and cure it. Did you know that heartworm disease can lead to the death of your beloved pets? Yes, heartworm disease in dogs and cats can result in severe lung disease, heart failure, and other organ damage, potentially leading to death if not treated at the right time. Let’s learn more about what exactly this disease is and how to prevent it.

History of National Heartworm Awareness Month

Heartworm disease is a serious disease that can be found in pets, especially in furry pets such as dogs, cats, ferrets, and in wild animals such as foxes, wolves, coyotes, e.t.c. Heartworms are parasitic worms that are carried and transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The parasite responsible for this is a worm called Dirofilaria immitis. It can be found in blood vessels and chambers of the heart and they usually live free-floating in the right ventricle of the heart and surrounding blood vessels.

When infected by the worm, the functioning of blood vessels in the heart is impaired, which reduces lung capacity and leads to death. One thing to note here is that heartworm disease is not contagious — it cannot be transmitted from one pet to another. Heartworm disease is only spread through the bite of a mosquito carrying that worm. Upon infection, it can live up to five to seven years inside a dog and up to two to three years inside a cat. Signs of heartworm disease in dogs include persistent cough, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss. Signs of heartworm in cats include coughing, asthma, vomiting, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Heartworms can affect the animal’s health and quality of life long after the heartworms are gone. So, as the owner and best friend of your beloved pet, it is your duty to have them regularly checked out so that they can be treated accordingly if needed. Follow the recommendations of the American Heartworm Society and take your pet for their annual heartworm screening and give them year-round heartworm preventative medication to keep them healthy.

National Heartworm Awareness Month timeline

1856
Infections in Dogs

Heartworm infections in canines are discovered.

1921
Infections in Cats

Heartworm infections in cats are discovered.

1974
The Birth of the American Heartworm Society

The American Heartworm Society is founded during the Heartworm Symposium.

August 2020
The Disease Becomes More Prevalent

Heartworm disease becomes more common in certain areas of the U.S.

National Heartworm Awareness Month FAQs

Can heartworm disease in dogs be cured?

Yes, there is a cure for heartworm disease in dogs but according to doctors, the treatment is a lengthy and expensive process.

Can humans get heartworm disease from their pets?

No, humans cannot get heartworm disease from their pets. It can only be transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.

How much does it cost to treat a dog with heartworm disease?

The average cost of heartworm disease treatment for dogs is around $1,000. However, it can vary depending on the breed, size, and severity of the infection.

National Heartworm Awareness Month Activities

  1. Spread the word

    The best way to observe National Heartworm Awareness Month is by spreading awareness to the world. Tell others about the dangers of heartworms and how they can save their pets.

  2. Take your pet for a check-up

    If you are waiting for a sign to take your pet to a pet clinic, this is it. You can take your pet for a heartworm check-up and take the necessary measures to save them.

  3. Join events

    During Heartworm Awareness Month, many animal welfare enthusiasts across the world come together and organize several events. You can take part in these events and show your support.

5 Terrifying Facts About Heartworm Disease That Will Shock You

  1. It’s everywhere

    Heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 U.S states.

  2. They look like spaghetti

    Mature heartworms look like long strands of spaghetti.

  3. Dogs are more susceptible

    Dogs can have hundreds of heartworms in their bodies.

  4. We need to act fast

    In most cases, the treatment often comes too late to fully cure the animal.

  5. Decreased appetite might be a sign

    If your cat or dog is not eating well, it might be a sign of heartworm disease.

Why We Love National Heartworm Awareness Month

  1. It is a much-needed day

    One of the important things to note here is that even today, not all pet owners know about the existence of heartworm disease and its deadly outcomes. So, National Heartworm Awareness Month serves as a day to create awareness.

  2. It can save lives

    Heartworm Awareness Month is a crucial month that can educate you on how to save the life of your beloved pet. Learn all you can — it could save your pet’s life.

  3. It impacts many people

    National Heartworm Awareness Month is one of those observances that impacts many people. It places importance on making the extra effort to care for your pets to keep them healthy and happy.

National Heartworm Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2023April 1Saturday
2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
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