If you've taken your dog to the vet, you've heard it time and time again - "is he/she current on heartworm preventative? when was your last heartworm test?". We promise we don't mean to bother. Heartworms are extremely expensive to treat and can be dangerous and fatal to your pet. The incidence rate of heartworms is also very high in this area. In this blog, we will walk you through what heartworms are, how and why to prevent them, treatment if they are infected, and the costs associated.
What are heartworms?
According to the American Heartworm Society, they are foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. They are transmitted by mosquitos who have bitten an infected host.
How do I know if my pet has heartworms?
Most early cases show no outword signs at all. Once it worsens, your pet may show symptoms such as persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Eventually, heartworms can cause blockages that can be fatal. The best way to tell if your pet has heartworms is to get them tested by your vet. We recommend and require yearly tests to determine if your pet has heartworms even if they have been on regular prevention as a part of your pet's regular annual vaccination visit.
How do I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?
The best way to prevent heartworms is through a regular heartworm preventative such as Interceptor Plus, Heartgard Plus, or Trifexis given strictly according to directions on the box and given regularly. It is also imperative to have your pet tested yearly for heartworms while on preventative. Heartworm preventatives are highly effective, but dogs can still become infected. If you miss just one dose of your monthly medication - or give it late - it can leave your dog unprotected.
If your pet is found to have heartworms and has been on regular, documented preventative - Heartgard, Interceptor, and Trifexis will cover the cost of heartworm treatment.
Heartworm treatment can cost upwards of $1,000. This will buy you about 7.5 years worth of heartworm preventative of this brand and weight range. (pictured below)
Contact us today to get your pet in for their annual vaccines and heartworm test and get your pet on heartworm preventative now! It will save you and your pet heartache in the long run. Call or text us at 812-402-1111.