Heartworm Prevention and Treatment

Tahoma Veterinary Hospital Offers Heartworm Treatment and Prevention

Heartworm disease is a condition that affects dogs and cats and which can make them very sick or even threaten their lives. Treatment does not always have a successful outcome, so prevention of the disease is extremely important for all vulnerable animals. At Tahoma Veterinary Hospital in Spanaway, WA, we provide heartworm testing, prevention, and treatment for pets.


Understanding Heartworm Disease

Heartworms are tiny worms that are transmitted by the bite of a mosquito. Infected mosquitos transfer microscopic heartworm larvae to animals through a bite. The larvae then migrate through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs. There, the worms grow and reproduce, crowding out the organs of the host animal. Symptoms of heartworm disease include a dry cough, reluctance to exercise, and trouble breathing. However, in the early stages, the animal may show no symptoms. If untreated, the disease can gradually lead to death. Cats also can acquire heartworms. However, the disease is less serious than it is in dogs, which are a natural host for the worms.

Treatment of Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is detected through a blood test. If your pet tests positive, the animal will be put on forced rest to reduce stress on the heart and lungs. Strong medications to eliminate the parasites are administered, along with antibiotics and other medications. Treatment of heartworm disease is expensive, requiring hospitalization and repeated tests and visits to the vet.  It can also be physically difficult for the infected animal, and a successful outcome is not always assured. That’s why veterinarians recommend heartworm prevention medications to keep your pet from getting sick.

Prevention of Heartworm Disease

Medication to prevent heartworm disease is available for both cats and dogs. Most heartworm drugs are administered orally each month. An injectable form is also available that offers protection from heartworm disease for six months. A blood test will be done prior to providing the medication to see if there are any existing heartworms in an animal. The preventative medication is not sufficient to treat heartworm disease if your pet already has the worms. Our vet will be happy to discuss the best method of heartworm prevention for your pet.

Make Tahoma Veterinary Hospital your Veterinarian in Spanaway, WA

Dr. Kertson and our team at Tahoma Veterinary Hospital make quality care for our patients in Spanaway, WA, Eatonville, Graham and other communities our first consideration. We offer many services, including wellness visits, vaccinations, surgery, dental care, and urgent care. We also treat farm animals and llamas. Contact Tahoma Veterinary Hospital today at 253-847-3500 for an appointment to have your pet tested for heartworms and to learn about prevention and treatment of this serious pet disease.



Office Hours


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


8:30 am-1:00 pm