The Truth About Heartworm
One of the most common misconceptions about Heartworm is how your pet can contract it. Your pet can get Heartworm simply by the bite of an infected mosquito. This is why it is so important to have your pet on a Heartworm Preventative year round.
Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. It takes roughly seven months, once your pet is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult Heartworms. They then lodge into the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. These adult heartworms can actually grow in size to about 12 inches in length. They can live for about 6 years and your pet can have as many as 250 heartworms in its system at once.
Lets take a look at the preventatives that we have... For less then your morning coffee you can prevent your pet from heartworm. There are monthly pills and also monthly topicals that you can put on their skin.
Heartgard Plus is one option that we have at the Connersville Veterinary Clinic. This is a monthly, beef jerky chewable tablet that your pet takes orally.
Once your pet has tested Negative for Heartworm you are able to purchase a preventative. This product prevents against Heartworm and it also deworms your pet monthly for Hookworm and Roundworm. Some clients choose to purchase their heartworm preventative individually and some prefer to purchase it bi-yearly/ yearly. If you purchase a year worth of Heartgard for your pet, the highest you will pay at the Connersville Veterinary Clinic is $105.00. You will also receive a $12.00 rebate in the mail with any purchase of 12 Heartgard (they must be the same size). This heartworm product is approved for dogs with seizures.
Trifexis is another option we have here. This is a pill that not only prevents against Heartworm, but is an overall dewormer (Hookworm, Roundworm, Whipworm), as well as a flea preventative.
Once your pet has tested negative for Heartworm, we are more then happy to sell you Trifexis. Because of the additional flea preventative in this product it is a bit more expensive then the Heartgard. We usually sell this product either individually or in packs of 6. There is a price break if this product is purchased in a package of 6 (must be the same size). This Heartworm product is NOT approved for dogs with seizures.
Advantage Multi is the last product we carry at our Clinic that prevents against Heartworm. This is also an overall dewormer (Hookworm, Roundworm, Whipworm) and is a flea preventative as well.
Once your pet has tested negative for Heartworm, Advantage Multi is a wonderful option. Advantage Multi is a topical Heartworm preventative. This is distributed to your pet by parting the fur on the back of their neck and applying directly to their skin. This product is approved for dogs with seizures.
If your pet comes in and tests positive for Heartworm, there is a treatment. The drug that is used to treat heartworm is called Immiticide. This is an injectable, arsenic-based product. Your dog will be given two to three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in its system. This will be done after an extensive work up is made on your dog. We are talking X-Rays, Bloodwork, and more testing to establish the severity of the infection. We also want you to realize that just because the injection is given, this does NOT mean your pet will survive. This disease can be FATAL. When an adult heartworm dies, it starts to deteriorate in your pets heart and blood vessels. When they deteriorate they can break apart and parts of the heartworm can get lodged into a blood vessel or artery and cause a blockage in your pets heart.
One thing that we tend to hear a lot is that owners stop giving heartworm preventative in the "colder" months. This is not recommended by any means. Just because it is colder does not mean that there aren't any mosquitos. I want to stress the importance of knowing that it literally takes 1 mosquito bite to infect your dog.
You may not think that Heartworm is a big deal... but it is and it CAN and WILL be fatal to your dog if you don't take the responsibility of having your pet on a preventative. This map shows the number of cases in each state in the year 2013... As you can see, Indiana is affected greatly by this disease.
If your pet isn't on a preventative and you'd like to learn more or schedule an appointment to have them tested please don't hesitate to call!
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