Island Hammock Pet Hospital®
and Boarding Villa
Serving the Upper Keys; Key Largo, Islamorada, Tavernier and Ocean Reef
Island Hammock Pet Hospital®
and Boarding Villa

Preventing Heartworms




  • Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos and live in the blood of infected animals. Left untreated, heartworm infestations are usually fatal. Indoor pets are also at risk.

  • Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos and are common in Florida. Exposure is year-round and impossible to detect without testing. Indoor pets are also at risk

  • Canine symptoms can include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite or weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.

  • Feline symptoms can include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Occasionally an affected cat may have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse of the cat, or sudden death

  • Once infected, Cats cannot be treated because the treatment used for dogs is medically harmful to cats. Although the heartworm infestation cannot be removed from the cat, with veterinary care the goal is to stabilize the cat and provide a long term management plan.

  • Have your dog tested annually. Protect both dogs and cats by administering Heartworm prevention medication at regularly  prescribed intervals.

The Island Hammock Pet Hospital follows prevention and treatment protocols published by the American Heartworm Society. If properly administered, heartworm medications will prevent the onset of heartworms. Heartworm preventative are available in injectable, oral and topical forms, with doses that last from one month to six months. Ask one of our veterinarians for more details. 

Prescription and over-the-counter medications used properly and regularly will prevent infestations.

For more more information about purchasing medications for your pet, click here.