Last week we discussed a few truths and lies about heartworm disease. To recap, we learned that mosquitos transmit heartworm disease and that all cats and dogs are at risk whether they live inside or outside. We also noted heartworm disease can lead to heart failure in your pet. This week I want to discuss the benefits of taking steps to prevent heartworm instead of treating them once present.
Treating heartworm disease is very challenging, dangerous and very expensive. Treatment requires weeks of preparatory medications to help your pet’s body handle treatment, powerful anti-parasitic injections that kill the worms, strict exercise restriction for your pet’s safety and multiple additional supportive medications from your veterinarian. Treating heartworm disease can range from $700 to over $1000 dollars on average and is not guaranteed effective.
Thankfully, with all the challenges involved in heartworm treatment, prevention is easy, safe and inexpensive. There are a lot of different heartworm prevention products available for cats and dogs that are effective and safe for your pet. Products typically come as a topical gel that you apply to your pet’s shoulder blades or an oral chew treat that your pet eats. Most products are given every thirty days not only to make dosing easy but also to kill the heartworm larvae (mini worms) quickly before they can establish themselves and hurt your pet.
Make sure to consult your veterinarian on which products are best for your pet! Stay tuned for more discussion about the other medications included in heartworm preventatives and why they are important!