Local Pet Medical Issues

There are numerous local medical issues that can impact your pet’s health and that require your attention over the entire year. For example, heartworm disease is extremely prevalent in canines in the southeast. Because it’s transmitted by mosquitoes, which thrive in our region, it’s a serious cause for concern. The same is true for flea and tick infestation and intestinal parasites, each of which poses a problem in any season. We believe in, and recommend year round treatment to protect against these and other pests, as well as Early Detection of other conditions through routine blood screening.

Animal Hospital North Hickory

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquitoes. Heartworm disease is as scary as it sounds. It is a severe and potentially fatal disease caused by parasitic worms that live in the heart and the arteries of the lungs of many types of mammals. Heartworms are a type of roundworm and dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection by them.

There may be no signs at first, then you may possibly notice these most common signs of infection:

  • Mild, intermittent cough
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting/ diarrhea
  • Abnormal lung sounds

Heartworm disease is very difficult and expensive to treat, is easy to prevent. The American Heartworm Society recommends annual testing and year-round heartworm disease prevention with a broad spectrum product to ensure your pet is heartworm-free. Please contact us for recommendation for your pet. And remember that monthly preventatives should be used year round for your buddies. Even one missed dose can have serious health consequences for your pet.


Fleas are truly devoted to their work. In one day, a single flea can bite your cat or dog more than 400 times. During that same day, the flea can consume more than its body weight of your pet’s blood. And before it’s through, a female flea can lay hundreds of eggs on your pet, ensuring that its work will be carried on by generations to come.

Flea bites may be merely a nuisance to some pets, but to others, they can be dangerous. They can cause flea allergy dermatitis—an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. A pet’s constant scratching to rid itself of fleas can cause permanent hair loss and other skin problems. A pet can get a tapeworm if it eats a flea that has one. And flea feasts on your pet’s blood can lead to anemia and, in rare cases, death.

We highly recommend keeping your dog or cat on monthly flea prevention year round.

Facts about Fleas

  • Worldwide, there are about 3,000 different types of fleas, but the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common to be found on cats and dogs.
  • Adult fleas can jump 600 times an hour. Each jump, in terms of the flea’s size, is the equivalent of a person clearing a 50-story building.
  • The record jump for a flea is 13 inches.
  • In just 30 days, 25 adult female fleas can multiply to 250,000 fleas


Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected tick. Lyme disease is regarded as the most common tick-borne illness in the United States. The disease is spread primarily during tick season (May through August) but ticks can be active any time the temperature is above 32 degrees F.

This disease in dogs is most commonly characterized by the sudden onset of lameness. One or more joints may become swollen and painful to the touch. The lameness may last only a few days, but in some cases it becomes chronic and persists or recurs for months. Some dogs may run a fever and experience weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite and weight loss. Kidney problems or acute cardiac syndrome can be fatal.

We highly recommend you keep your pet on a flea and tick preventative throughout the year.