The Importance of heartworm prevention
Did you know that heartworm disease now occurs in all 50 states? And that it only takes 1 bite from an infected mosquito to infect your dog?
The American Heartworm Society states that there are 22 different mosquito species in the United States that carry heartworms, and that they are constantly changing and adapting to colder climates.
For these reasons it is important to keep your dog on heartworm prevention year round. If you have a puppy under 7 months old, you can start heartworm prevention without testing. Dogs older than 7 months should be tested prior to starting on preventative. It is recommended that your dog have a yearly heartworm test to ensure that they are heartworm free.
If your dog develops heartworm disease, symptoms can include a mild persistant cough, fatigue after moderate exercise, or even a reluctance to exercise, decreased appetite and weight loss. If left untreated, heart failure can occur.
For dogs that test positive for heartworms, there is a treatment. Treatment protocol may vary between veterinarians. Dr. Snodgrass recommends that you have your dog retested 1 year after treatment is completed, to ensure that he/she is heartworm free.
There are different forms of heartworm prevention, including a monthly topical, a 6 month injectable and monthly chewable. No matter what form of heartworm prevention you choose, you will need to obtain a prescription from your veterinarian.
Baxter County Animal Clinic currently provides:
- Heartgard Plus - a monthly chewable
- Iverhart Plus - a monthly tablet
- Pro Heart - an injectable given every 6 months