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Silent killer threatens to prey on Coast pets

Cats and dogs, especially those that spend a lot of time outdoors, are at risk of being infected by heartworm.
Cats and dogs, especially those that spend a lot of time outdoors, are at risk of being infected by heartworm. Bev Lacey

IT'S the silent killer that could take your pet at any time.

Heartworm is easily treated, but an infection detected at a Caloundra veterinary clinic last week has prompted a warning.

As the dangerous parasite is transmitted by mosquitos, heartworm is more prevalent since recent floods.

Greencross Vets Caloundra's Dr Guy Weerasinge said a rescue dog from Rockhampton tested positive for heartworm at the Caloundra practice this week.

Heavy rain across south-east Queensland has increased the number of mosquitoes spreading the deadly parasite.

Dr Weerasinge said heartworm could cause significant damage to a pet's circulatory system before it was detected, and the damage was often irreversible.

"Thanks to all this rain we've had, the Sunny Coast has now become a breeding ground for mozzies,” Dr Weerasinge said.

"It's more important than ever to protect your pet.”

Dr Weerasinge said the parasite lives in major blood vessels of the heart and lungs, and while it is potentially fatal it's easily prevented with oral and topical medicines or an annual vaccination.

"Some pet owners assume their indoor pets are safe, or that protection is more important during certain months of the year,” he said.

"Pets living outdoors are at higher risk of developing heartworm disease, however, mosquitoes can find their way into most houses (fly screens or not). Unfortunately, this means that even completely indoor pets are at risk of infection from heartworm.”

Topics:  animals heartworm pet health pets veterinary science vets


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