Jul 18

A dogfight to defeat heartworm: incidence on the rise in central west

DEADLY DISEASE: Mulberry Lane Vet Clinic’s Judith Carney says heartworms are a threat to dogs. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 1028heartworm2 MULBERRY Lane Vet Clinic’s Judith Carney says the incidences of heartworm will rise in the central west unless pet owners protect their dogs against the deadly disease.

Dr Carney said there had been reported cases of dogs and feral foxes in the area infected with the disease, and it was important to remind people to take preventative care.

“There’s been a lot of hearsay that heartworm isn’t in Orange but it is and it’s really nasty, it can kill a dog,” she said.

“If it doesn’t kill them they could be on heart treatment for the rest of their life.”

Dr Carney, who’s been advocating heartworm prevention for the past eight years, said the disease is often spread by mosquitos.

“It’s very important for people not to be complacent thinking that this is not in Orange because it is,” she said.

Dr Carney said dogs can be given a number of preventative treatments via tablets, vaccinations or topical applications however dogs must be tested over a six month period before preventative treatment begins.

According to the Australian heartworm prevention guidelines, heartworm infection has been reported in all Australian states and pet owners everywhere need to be vigilant about the possibility of infection.

Heartworm infection starts when small larvae are injected into the skin and eventually grow into adult worms in the heart and blood vessels of the lungs.

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