Please Note: Colonial Manor Animal Hospital will be closed on Saturdays until further notice.



Heartworm is a serious disease that we help prevent and can treat at Colonial Manor Animal Hospital in Homer Glen.

Heartworm Prevention and Treatment at Colonial Manor Animal Hospital

Dangers of
heartworm disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats, and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm is a parasite that infects many wild animals and cats, dogs, and ferrets. Unlike rabies, it rarely infects humans, and it’s not transmitted through blood or saliva like other infections. Animals carry the parasite and are transmitted between them by mosquito bites. Microfilariae or young heartworms transfer from the infected animal to the mosquito, and when the mosquito feeds on another animal, the larvae infect the next animal.

What are the Symptoms of Heartworm Disease?

In some dogs and many cats, there are no symptoms of the condition. However, the longer your pet goes with the parasite growing inside, the more damage it can do. Some signs you may notice in an active dog include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Reluctant to exert themselves
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

For cats, there can be some symptoms, such as,

  • Coughing
  • Asthma-like attacks
  • Loss of appetite
  • Periodic vomiting
  • Weight loss

Unfortunately, because the disease develops differently in cats than dogs, the first sign for a cat might be sudden death.

How Can Pet Owners Prevent Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm preventive measures are invaluable and nearly 100 percent effective. The disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. The best way to protect your pet is through preventive heartworm treatments and regular testing. Puppies can begin taking a preventive heartworm treatment under seven months, and testing can start at six months. All pets should be tested every six to twelve months.

Preventive medications are also available for kittens and cats. The recommended starting age is six weeks for kittens. Testing should also be done every six to twelve months, regardless of preventive medications. Always contact your veterinary specialist before starting your pet on any new treatments.

What is Heartworm Treatment Available?

Heartworm treatment is available for dogs. Depending on how far along the disease is and their health, full rehabilitation in a hospital setting is possible. This course of action is expensive, and recovery is not guaranteed. Treatment is not available for cats. Our veterinary care specialists can help reduce any inflammation from the disease, but there aren’t any surgeries or ways to remove the worms safely.

Are Your Pet's Safe from Heartworm Disease?

Contact our veterinary center in Homer Glen today at (708) 301-8200 and schedule an appointment with one of our licensed veterinarians for a comprehensive pet wellness exam.