Updated: Jan 1
Summer is upon us and in full swing. With the scorching heat and all of the rain in 2019 so far, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are flourishing. Preventatives are key to keeping your best friend happy and healthy. Below are several newcomers to Speak and unfortunately, they all came to us positive for heartworm. Many people don’t realize their friend may be infected with this disease it until it’s too late. However, heartworm can be prevented with just a single preventative once a month! The preventatives are inexpensive, as low as $6/month and can be purchased through your vet or with a prescription online. Most of the preventatives come with a guarantee that if your pup is infected, they will pay for treatment. Not treating your best friend can lead to very costly bills for treatment, some ranging over $1,000.
Dirofilaria immitis, or heartworm, is a parasite that comes from mosquitoes. The mosquito will bite an infected host and then bite another animal who is not protected from the parasite. Even in colder winter months, mosquitoes are still around and can infect your pup. For this reason, it is important to give preventatives all year round for heartworm. It is not contagious from animal to animal directly, aside from the mosquito bite.
For those who don’t know what these pups are about to endure, here is an outline. First, they must be checked for the health of their organs to determine if they can handle the heartworm treatment. Next, if they are strong enough, a veterinarian will make a treatment plan that can last anywhere from 2 to 10 months. The treatments range from topical medicine to painful injections that go deep within the muscles on the affected animal. These treatments are toxic to both the parasite and the dog, and is often compared to chemotherapy in humans. It makes the dog sick, nauseated, and just overall not feeling well. During this treatment time, the dog has to have no strenuous activity. So instead of that fun-loving playful dog, they are confined to crates and need to be kept calm for the entire length of treatment. This is both stressful on the dog and the owners. Failure to keep the pet calm, as the pieces of heartworm break up, can cause a blood clot in the lungs, potentially taking the life of the pet.
It is sad for those of us who see cases of heartworm over and over again, and for these reasons, we’ve decided to send this reminder. Remember, heartworm prevention medicine is so important to keep your best friend safe! Kaya (Pictured), Brownie, Sully, Mulligan, Dreamweaver, Skeeter, Yeardly, Yogi, and Georgie are all about to or have been through this horrible and painful treatment. We would all greatly appreciate your thoughts as they make their journey back to being healthy again!
More information can be found at the American Heartworm Society: https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources
*Note: This is informational only, please consult your veterinarian for the proper types of preventatives suited best for your pet.