Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.
Heartworm disease is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The immature larvae (microfilariae) enter a dog’s bloodstream and mature into adult worms in the major blood vessels of the heart and lungs. Naturally, these worms can cause signs of heart disease. The heart will continue to deteriorate and proceed to heart failure if left untreated. Considering the low incidence of heartworm in this area, an infection may be present for years before discovered. At Southampton Pet Hospital, we use the 4Dx test which also looks for common tick-borne diseases.
If a dog has heartworms, what symptoms should I look for?
Symptoms to look for with a dog with heartworm are increased respiratory rate, coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, weight loss or exercise intolerance. As the disease progresses, it can lead to heart failure, and then eventually can cause excess fluid in the liver, kidneys or abdomen.
How does a dog get heartworms?
A dog can get heartworm from mosquitoes; a mosquito will bite an infected host and contract Dirofilaria microfilariae. The larvae will develop in the mosquito and then will be passed onto an uninfected dog through another bite.
What are the treatment options for heartworms?
Treatment goals are based on the severity of the infection. Obviously, signs of heart failure need to be addressed. Once stable, your dog would require medication for the adult worms, microfilariae and bacteria the heartworm may be carrying as well. The treatment requires multiple medications and close monitoring for complications.
Why is recovery for heartworm treatment so challenging?
As outlined in the treatment options – there are multiple organisms that are involved in a heartworm infection. Each parasite and/or bacteria create their own pathology and require their own treatment. When we also recognize Dirofilaria may not be diagnosed until after significant damage has occurred, the treatment is further complicated.
With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 15, 2020 some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.
1. WE CAN NOW SEE ALL CASES BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, heartworm testing, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!
2. SAFETY MEASURES TO KEEP EVERYONE SAFE
Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.
Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
3. ONLINE CONSULTATIONS ARE AVAILABLE
If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.
4. OPERATING HOURS
We are OPEN with the following hours:
- Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Saturday: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm - Sunday: CLOSED
Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!