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Heartworm disease can be fatal to dogs

Cats, as well as other dogs in an enclosed home, are a big part of the problem, including dogs that are vaccinated to prevent the worm, said Dr. Gaby Johnson, the first director of the Wisconsin Center for Disease Control on dogs and their health. "People talk about them being infectious, even though they're human beings, and now people aren't asking whether dog bites are serious to people or not, so to stay on that message for long enough will increase the risk that dogs will continue to pose a risk," he said. The researchers hope that understanding the cause of what's becoming known as "superb" canine tick fever will help identify potential treatment strategies for cats and dogs, and it will begin treatment of cat bites from a population-wide perspective as well. Gaddio is especially concerned about spay/neuter techniques, such as feeding. "We are seeing so-called holistic approaches as being very effective at keeping our pets from dying from bacterial or viral diseases," Gaddio says. He believes spaying or neutering might result in no change in the symptoms or behavior of cats or dogs, as they now have more control over how they behave within their enclosures. Gaddio says pets should be monitored closely after a surgery for heartworm disease. Some vets believe that cats and dogs should have regular monitoring. Infections occur when blood vessel endothelial dysfunction (Deg) is compromised. An infection causes blood vessels to become hard and narrow and can cause the dog to fall limp and even die. "If something comes out that should be wiped out with bacteria and viruses, we should make sure that in fact there are no problems with what we do and that if you really want a dog, you should keep a pet with a normal heart function," he says.

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