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).
One of the conditions that your vet looks for at each checkup is heartworm disease. This devastating illness is easily prevented, but not all pet owners are aware of the risk of heartworm disease. Here is an overview of what your pet’s vet wants you to know about heartworm disease:
Cats and Dogs Get It
While heartworm disease is often seen in dogs, it occurs regularly in cats too. Pets in all fifty states can get heartworm disease, though it is most common in the Southeast and along the Mississippi River. These areas are humid and moist, making them a perfect breeding ground for the transmitters of heartworm disease: mosquitoes.
Prevention Is Simple
Your vet can provide many prevention options for your cat or dog. Oral medications, topical applications, and injections are all available. Some require monthly doses, and others have longer durations. It is also important to keep other internal parasites, such as ringworms, in check to preserve your pet’s overall wellbeing.
Treatment Is Difficult
Treating heartworm disease is risky. The parasites must be killed without hurting the animal. Hospitalization is often necessary, as are many doses of injected medication. Your cat or dog must be confined with limited exercise while he or she recovers. The treatment process is long and can be quite costly, so prevention is crucial. If you suspect your pet has heartworm disease, don’t wait to see the vet for treatment.
Pet Owners Should Know the Symptoms
You may not realize your pet has heartworm disease at first. Your dog or cat may be tired, lethargic, and show less interest in food. As the disease progresses, your pet may be unwilling to exercise, lose weight, cough, and seem generally ill. As soon as you notice a change in your pet, bring him or her to your veterinary practice for an exam. The sooner heartworms are detected, the sooner treatment can begin to restore your pet to full health.
In Dallas, bring your cat or dog to Chastain Veterinary Medical Group. Our trained staff can examine your animal and begin heartworm prevention or treatment as soon as possible. Let us help you give your pet the very best. Call us at (972) 239-1309 for an appointment today.
- Dog Care
- Cat Care
- New Pet
- Pet Dental Care
- Pet Allergies
- Exotic Pet Care
- Senior Pets
- X-Ray Services
- Rabbit Care
- Pet ID
- Gum Disease
- First Pet
- Pet Boarding
- Tilting Head
- Free Help
- Guinea Pigs