2410 N. Highway 53
La Grange, KY 40031
GET DIRECTIONS »
Mon: 7:30am-6:00pm
Tue: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Wed: 8:00am- 12:00pm
Thu: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Fri: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Sat: 7:30am- 1:00pm

Countryside Animal Hospital

2410 N. Highway 53
La Grange, KY 40031
GET DIRECTIONS »

Office Hours

Mon: 7:30am-6:00pm
Tue: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Wed: 8:00am- 12:00pm
Thu: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Fri: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Sat: 7:30am- 1:00pm

Call Now!

502-222-4663

- Now accepting new patients
- Same day appointments
La Grange KY Veterinarian Heartworm

Heartworm

What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a serious illness that can cause heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and even death in dogs, cats and ferrets. Heartworm is most prevalent in pets living along the Atlantic Gulf coasts from New Jersey to the Gulf of Mexico, and in those living alongside the Mississippi and its main tributaries. However it has been found in pets in all of the US States.

What causes Heartworm?

Heartworm is caused by parasitic worm larvae that lives inside mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites an animal it transfers some worm larvae into it where the larvae then matures, mates and produces offspring inside its living host. The offspring produced by female adult heartworms is known as microfilariae and lives in the host animals’ blood stream. When a mosquito then bites an infected animal it draws microfilariae into its body where it turns it into infective larvae, beginning the cycle again.

Once an animal has been infected it takes time for the larvae to mature into adults that are capable of reproduction. In dogs this period is usually 6-7 months and in cats and ferrets around 8 months. Adult heartworms look like cooked spaghetti and can range in size from 4-6 inches in males and 10-12 inches in females. The number of worms found in a pet is known as its ‘worm burden’ and this can vary depending on the species of animal and the severity of the infection.

Heartworm in Dogs

The lifespan of heartworms within an infected dog is between 5 and 7 years and the average worm burden is 15. However dogs have been seen with worm burdens ranging from 1 to 250.

Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs

The severity of the symptoms of heartworm in dogs is dependent on the worm burden of the animal, how long they have been infected and how well their body can cope with the disease. However it is usually broken down into four stages.

Class 1: no visible symptoms or very mild symptoms such as an intermittent cough or wheeze.

Class 2: mild to more moderate symptoms including intermittent coughing and lethargy or breathlessness after light to moderate exercise. At this time some heart and lung changes may be seen on x-rays.

Class 3: symptoms will include frequent or persistent coughing, lethargy and breathlessness after mild activity. Heart and lung changes will definitely be visible on x-rays.

Class 4: this stage is otherwise known as Caval Syndrome and is reached when an infected animal has been left untreated for an extended period of time. At this stage the animal experiences restricted blood flow to the heart caused by a blockage of worms. Heart failure is imminent and emergency surgery to remove the worms is the only course of action. However this comes with its own risks and most dogs with Caval Syndrome do not survive.

Heartworm in Cats

Cats are naturally more resistant to heartworm and once infected the worms have a lifespan of only 2-3 years. Adult worms do not grow as long as seen in dogs, and fewer microfilariae mature into adults. Similarly there is much less microfilariae present in a feline blood stream – an average of only 20% compared to 80-90% seen in canines. Worm burdens are also much lower with an average of only 1-3 worms seen per cat.

Symptoms of Heartworm in Cats

Many cats are able to rid themselves of heartworm before any symptoms become evident. However some infected cats have been known to die without presenting any warning or symptoms.

Once a cat is bitten they will develop HARD – Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease. During this time your cat will experience shallow, rapid or difficult breathing along with coughing and wheezing. The symptoms are not dissimilar to that of feline asthma or bronchitis. Other symptoms that may present themselves are very non-specific such as changes in appetite, lethargy and weight loss. This makes heartworm much harder to detect in cats.

Heartworm in Ferrets

Ferrets are similar to dogs in that they are far more susceptible to heartworm than cats. Microfilariae levels found in the blood stream of ferrets is typically around 50-60% and they usually have low worm burdens.

Symptoms of Heartworm in Ferrets

Symptoms of heartworm in Ferrets are very similar to that seen in cats with respiratory difficulties and fatigue being the most prevalent indications. However like their feline counterparts, heartworm in ferrets is difficult to diagnose.

Diagnosis of Heartworm

How to diagnose heartworm is similar across the species.

Diagnosing Heartworm in Dogs

Dog suspected to be infected with heartworm are usually given an antigen test. This is a blood test that detects proteins that are released by adult female heartworms into the bloodstream of the host animal. However this test cannot usually detect infections that are less than 6/7 months old as before this time as any microfilariae may not be fully matured.

Other methods of diagnosis include imaging during which time x-rays or ultrasounds of your dog will be taken to determine if heartworms are present.

Diagnosing Heartworm in Cats and Ferrets

Heartworm is trickier to diagnose in cats and ferrets and it is necessary to use a combination of blood tests and imaging to provide an accurate diagnosis of the disease.

Treating Heartworm

The FDA has a number of approved heartworm treatments available for dogs, the majority of which use arsenic which is effective at killing off adult heartworms. There are also several drugs which are able to eradicate microfilariae from your pets’ blood stream.

Whilst there are no treatments approved specifically for cats and ferrets infected with heartworm, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe treatments approved for other species under ‘extra label drug use’. Talk to your veterinarian to discuss the best option for your pet.

Any treatment for heartworms also poses a risk to your pet due to the toxic nature of some of the ingredients which have been known to cause life-threatening complications including blood clots. Diagnosis and treatment can also be expensive due to the number of tests and comprehensive care your pet will require.

Prevention is better than cure!

As with most illnesses, prevention is almost certainly better than cure. There are a number of preventative treatments available via veterinarian prescription including injections, oral tablets and topical liquids.

Pets older than 6/7 months of age should be tested for heartworm before beginning preventative treatment, whilst newborn animals can be treated right from their first vaccinations.

Speak to your veterinarian who will be happy to advise you on the best course of preventative care for your pet.

Are humans at risk from Heartworm?

Heartworm is spread via mosquitoes and is not contagious. In very rare cases people can get heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but we do not make natural hosts and any larvae usually die before reaching adulthood.

Schedule your appointment today!

Other Services

Pet owners need real solutions in improving the health of their four-legged friends. Pets are now living longer, and as they do, pets are becoming…

Our pets are a part of our family, and every responsible owner wants to ensure that their pets are in the very best of health. The majority of conditions that animals are susceptible to have…

New Patients Receive $25 OFF First Visit

Sign up using the form below or contact us at (502) 222-4663 to take advantage of this offer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Financing Available

Location Info

Building Front La Grange KY Veterinarian
Countryside Animal Hospital
2410 N. Highway 53
La Grange, KY 40031
GET DIRECTIONS »
Office Hours
Mon: 7:30am-6:00pm
Tue: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Wed: 8:00am- 12:00pm
Thu: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Fri: 7:30am- 6:00pm
Sat: 7:30am- 1:00pm

Contact

Call Now!

502-222-4663

Our Team

Reviews

4.7
Based on 398 reviews
Carrie M.
Carrie M.
Dr. Rainey and his staff are very caring and knowledgeable. Sophie was always happy to go to her appointments. They took very good care of Sophie and... she had a dental surgery & everything went well the staff is very nice and accommodating and Dr. Rainey is very knowledgeable. Their prices can’t be beat! I highly recommend Dr. Rainey and Countryside animal hospitalread more
Heather D.
Heather D.
Dr. Rainey saved my kitty Bandit. No other vet has been as caring, attentive or professional and I've taken him to SIX vets in town. Most wouldn't... help him, tried to put him to sleep!!I will never go anywhere else with my fur babies Dr. Rainey is literally the best vet in the greater Louisville area. I'm always in and out on time as well and the prices are very affordable, especially because he accepts Care Credit. Thank you Dr. Rainey and his nice staff. LT Dan Bandit is able to eat and have his life back thanks to you!!!!!read more
Audrey B.
Audrey B.
We took our new fur babies, Alleigh and Rosco, for their first shots and a general check-up. I was very impressed with the staff and the cleanliness... of the facility. The staff was very thorough and kind. I highly recommend them.read more
Barbara G.
Barbara G.
We took our GS in for a second opinion and got more information than ever before. Dr Rainey gave us some herbal supplements along with a pain med... and it had worked wonders on our girl. She’s acting like her playful self again.read more
Mary Jo D.
Mary Jo D.
My dog is very anxious. The staff did well with him and our visit went better than I expected. Dr. Rainey and the rest of the staff are very kind and... take the time to listen to any concerns.read more
Glisseal !
Glisseal !
Very expensive. Nice people but they insist that every dog needs certain things and you know very well none of your previous dogs never needed it.... Location is very convient.read more
Valerie K.
Valerie K.
Our lab was attacked by a pit at Morgan Park. 3" laceration, torn ACL. We went unscheduled to Dr Rainey. They took us right in. He made a rapid... accessment. Printed out details and estimate of what he may have to do. We agreed with his judgement left our lab over nite. Next day Doc calls. "Looks like minor surgery on the wound, pain pills and antibiotic, he should be fine." He was a new dog to us! Not only was Doc Rainey accurate with his diagnosis but he did exactly what he said he would do and charged exactly what he estimated it to be. So refreshing to have such an experienced vet with integrity. Great caring staff as well, thank you! Brian, Val & Lakerread more
C P
C P
Dr Rainey and staff are incredible! The best veterinarian clinic that I’ve ever frequented.I have a deep respect and appreciation for Dr Rainey and... the way that he approaches my pet’s health with compassion, merging East and West philosophies, delivering premium care for my Marley, that’s individualized and specific to his healthcare needs.It’s more than a clinic, it’s a hospital staffed with people who genuinely love and care for animals. Dr Rainey performed extensive surgery on my dog and it’s amazing how quickly Marley is healing and recovering even with other comorbities.Everyone at the office has been so kind and offered me a level of peace even through some difficult decision-making regarding my dog’s care. Their medical expertise is top notch. Honestly, I’ve never been to a vet that I trusted more.So if you’re looking for a holistic approach to your pet’s healthcare needs, you’ve found the right place. I am beyond grateful that I found them.The drive from Louisville is nothing compared to the level of peace they will offer you.They’re just wonderful. ❤️Contessa Pantojaread more
mary W.
mary W.
Very reasonable surgical prices, kind compatonate staff. Truly cares about my senior dogs health and wellbeing! Just moved here from out of state... this is for sure my new vet!read more
Renee B.
Renee B.
I brought my dog for acupuncture treatments Everyone there is very nice and friendly . Dr Rainey takes time to explain things in detail. He was... even able to catch a kidney issue that we had no idea she had.read more
Melissa M.
Melissa M.
My kitten Martica is my emotional support cat and is very dear to me. He is 11mo. Old. Country side animal hospital has taken care of him for me all... his lil life. Very specific though he has been treated on 2 seperate occasion for illnesses once for a double severe ear infection..Dr. Rainey aka The Magic Man had him feeling better and healed in no time flat and helped us eliminate his allergen. Also more serious he was also treated for aspirations pneumonia w complications from meditation he recieved at blue pearl hospital after hours treatment Dr.Rainey kept him overnight gave him fluids and ran every necessary test gave him shots he could tolerate very well fixed his diet and saved Marticas life. He also provides safe cat treats cat toothpaste and brush and his shampoo right in the office for easy convenience. Magic Man aka Dr. Rainey and his staff..ms. Candy. Ms. Sophia and everyone there are the greatest! I would NEVER take my Martica anywhere but there i learned the hard way..but Dr.Rainey saved the day as always!!read more
Rosemary G.
Rosemary G.
Dr. Rainey has correctly diagnosed our cat, Diva, with two different conditions this year alone. He has given Diva the proper treatment and she's... responded very well. We are so fortunate that he is able to be Divas doctor, and the staff there has treated her so well. We won't go anywhere else.read more
P M.
P M.
On vacation and my pup got bit by something, causing a lump and swelling. Office scheduled me quickly (next morning). Vet was kind and gentle with my... little girl. Gave her a shot of cortisone that helped. Office Staff was extremely friendly. Pricing was a bit higher than our usual vet, but much more reasonable than typical animal hospitals @$125. Would definitely go again for treatment if needed.read more
Joel W.
Joel W.
These guys are by far the best vet I have been to in my 30 years of having pets… they are EXTREMELY accommodating, and very reasonably priced… I... would DEFINITELY recommend them to anyone looking for a vet!!!read more
candice L.
candice L.
We just moved to the area and hadn't established care with a vet yet. My English Bulldog had an urgent need to be seen and I brought her in to... Countryside Animal Hospital. Dr. Rainey was quick to assess that she needed emergent care at a vet hospital and recommended the best facility that could meet her needs quickly. Once released I took her back to help manage the chronic condition she was diagnosed with and couldn't be happier with his expertise! She is now doing well and his recommendations solved an issue that we didn't realize she had for years. I highly recommend Countryside Animal Hospital!read more
Robin C.
Robin C.
Wonderful service, very acknowledgeable and kind to my animals. Dr Rainey is a great veterinarian and I trust him with my animals. He is now my... veterinarianread more
Lola H.
Lola H.
I have been bringing my baby to Dr. Rainey since she was 8 weeks old. She still has a tiny bit of anxiety when she gets back to the exam room but the... staff and Dr. Rainey are great with her. She leaves there just as happy as when she arrived. I feel his prices are fair and affordable and Dr. Rainey and his staff have always been friendly and inviting every time we have come in.read more
Robert O.
Robert O.
Everyone there is very helpful, friendly, and professional. I believe you are very thorough in the care you give SanDee. The only drawback is this... care is a bit expensive.read more
Teresa J.
Teresa J.
This vet has treated our animals for everything from normal check ups and nail trim to hit by car and on death's door without ever leaving us... wondering if we could find better care, The entire staff is beyond amazing and the level of care is second to none!read more
Ashley W.
Ashley W.
Bailey loves her new diet! It has stopped her stomach issues and she is thinner and full of life! She eats salmon, green beans and sweet potatoes!!... This makes sense now more than ever with everything I have seen with dogs sharing similar dna to humans.read more
V H.
V H.
Super friendly and helpful staff! My two dogs, Jaxon and Luna, were always nervous at other vets but countryside has a comfortable environment that... allows them to relax and get the care that they need. Definitely would recommend them to anyone with a furry friend.read more
Christina G
Christina G
We came in because it was time to say goodbye to our sweet dog. The staff was kind and respectful. They explained everything about how our dog would... react and what to expect. For such a sad time for our family the staff were comforting, which we very much appreciate. I'd recommend them to anyone who is looking for a wonderful Veterinarian office for your fur babies.read more
Cory C.
Cory C.
The team here is nothing short of amazing. They are caring, professional, courteous, and take pride in what they do. They are great with our... animals, and we won't take them anywhere else. So glad we found Countryside.read more
Rhonda F.
Rhonda F.
Rhonda FullerWe sought out a good animal vet and staff due to the severe abuse from Covid and the restrictions when we lost our last dog due to vet... clinic abuse. We prayed feverently and found Countryside Animal Hospital. We realize the vet does not perform major surgeries and this has been very important to us due to the ongoing Covid restrictions from other vet offices. We like the smaller clinic environment, and the assistant Amy is so good with our dogs. We appreciate Dr. Rainey and his care for our dogs.read more
Cassandra P.
Cassandra P.
Dr. Rainey and his staff are always so nice and sweet. Very caring and they treat my fur babies like there own. Highly Recommend them. You can't... find any better vet than them. I lost my Companion of 13 years (Snuggles) and they were so supportive and sent there sympathy. ❤️ I truly can't put there practice into words. Absolutely love this Place and all the Staffread more
Patricia O.
Patricia O.
Dr. Rainey is wonderful!He is quality over quantity and was very present at our consultation for our dog's health.He explained what he would be... doing, why he had to do it, and how he came to the conclusions.He educated us so that we didn't require blind faith but we understood the what's, the why's, the when's and the how's.He gave clear instructions with a calm bedside manner.I thought the costs were a bit pricey but about the same as any other vet.He didn't try to upsale us on unnecessary things.This visit was thumbs up!A+read more
Next Reviews
js_loader