Love your pet?  Give them heartworm prevention!

Of course you love your pets, but do you love them year round by keeping them on heartworm prevention?  You probably do love your pets all the time!  Ok, maybe not when Rover tears into last night’s trash or when Fluffy vomits a hair ball on your newly cleaned comforter but most days, we all love our pets.  What does loving our pets entail?  Part of loving them is keeping them safe.  One of the biggest dangers to a pet in Texas is heartworm disease.

Is he protected against heartworms year round?

Is heartworm disease on the rise?

The answer is unfortunately, yes.  In Bexar County, the risk is considered high for a dog to contract heartworm disease.  In fact in most of the southeastern US the risk is high.  There are many reasons why this trend is worsening. One thing we know for sure is that any dog exposed to mosquitoes is vulnerable and should be protected.

How is this disease spread?

We will tell you how it is spread and we will give you yet another reason to hate mosquitoes!  Mosquitoes transmit heartworm disease to your pets.  Mosquitoes become infected by biting a dog or cat that has heartworm disease.  The mosquito then can spread heartworms to subsequent dogs or cats that they bite.  Dogs are a natural host for heartworms. This explains why most of the emphasis is on prevention and treatment in dogs.  Cats can be a host but they are an atypical host and unfortunately there is no current treatment for cats.

Once the animal has been infected, heartworms grow to about a foot long and live in the heart and lungs of the infected animal.  In the dog they mate and reproduce and ultimately cause extensive damage to the heart and lungs and then eventually major organs.  If left untreated, this condition will usually result in death.

What can you do to protect your dog?

We can treat your dog for heartworms but we would rather help you prevent them.  It is so much easier on your dog to take a prevention every month than go through the expensive, painful treatment.  This is why we recommend prevention year round.  It is also why we recommend testing every year.  With a negative, annual test we can be sure that your dog is heartworm free so that the  prevention will remain a safe way to keep your dog protected from heartworms.

heartworm infected heart

If a dog tests positive for heartworms and takes a heartworm prevention (depending on which one it is) there could be a chance for a dangerous allergic reaction.  For this reason we recommend annual testing and administration of the prevention to a positive dog under the guidance and care of a veterinarian.  Your vet can advise you what is best for your dog.  To love your pet year round, you should keep them on heartworm prevention year round.  The risk doesn’t go away in the winter so neither should the prevention.

Prevention is key!

Heartworm prevention is easy to purchase in our hospital or from our online pharmacy.  We have specials on our online pharmacy and rebates for some products that we carry in-house.  With Valentine’s Day approaching and the focus being on hearts, lets all pledge to get our dogs tested and keep them on prevention all year long to show them just how much they mean to us.