Get the Facts about Heartworm in Dogs
Heartworm disease is a potentially deadly risk for all dogs. Cats and ferrets are also at risk, although these species are not as commonly affected. Fortunately, preventative medication provided by your veterinarian can help to keep your animal safe. All dog owners can benefit from understanding the facts about heartworms to reduce the chances of their beloved pet becoming infected. Talk to your veterinarian about heartworm prevention in your dog, and keep this information in mind.
Heartworm Disease Is Spread by Mosquitos
Heartworm disease cannot be spread from one dog to another directly. Rather, an infected dog must be bitten by a mosquito, which then transmits the disease to another dog after taking a blood meal from the first dog. However, this does not mean that indoor dogs are immune to heartworm disease. No dog spends all of its time indoors, and mosquitos do get indoors on occasional. Only a single mosquito bite is needed for your pet to become infected. That is why most vets recommend that all dogs receive heartworm prevention medication all year long in north central Texas, regardless of lifestyle.
No Region Is Immune to Heartworm Disease
Some pet owners mistakenly believe that heartworms are only a problem in areas with epidemic levels of the disease. In reality, dogs in all 50 states have been diagnosed with heartworm disease, which impacts one million dogs annually. As families relocate around the country, the risk of heartworm disease also increases in new areas, so prevention is recommended no matter where you live.
Prevention Is More Effective Than Curing
Treatment for heartworm disease exists, but it is not without its own set of risks for your pet and it is not always 100% effective. It can also be expensive. For example, as of this writing, the standard two phase canine heartworm treatment protocol, with preliminary lab testing, might run a person just under $1,600 for a 50 pound dog by the time it’s all done. This compares to about $260 for a year’s supply of Trifexis or about $105 for a year’s supply of Heartgard for the same dog.
Modern heartworm prevention medications are usually given once per month and are available in a variety of administration formats, from pills to topicals. We, or your regular vet, can help you choose the right one for your animal.
Discuss heartworm disease prevention and any other pet care concerns you may have with a licensed veterinarian at Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. Our veterinary hospitals in north Dallas and McKinney are both AAHA accredited and both provide preventative care and emergency animal care. Find out how we can help keep your dog healthy by calling (972) 239-1309 (north Dallas) or (972) 529-5033 (McKinney/Frisco area).
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