What is Heartworm disease?
Heartworm disease is a parasitic disease transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes. It can be found anywhere mosquitoes live.
When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it takes with it the heartworm larvae which may infect another dog. Once infected it takes up to 6 months to develop adult heartworms. Adult heartworms set up residence in the pulmonary artery of the right side of the heart. They live for an average of 5-7 years and produce larvae throughout their lives. These larvae can, in turn, be picked up by mosquitoes and transmitted to another dog, thus continuing spread of the disease. It is not possible to detect the disease until adult heartworms are present.
What are the Signs?
Heartworm disease is characterized by exercise intolerance, lethargy, and cough. These signs are a result of the on-going damage to the heart and lungs. Death is a result of the irreversible damage done to the heart.
How is it treated?
Treatment is available, however, prevention is much preferred. It consists of the use of a low-dose arsenic compound to kill the adult heartworms. This is followed by treatment with Ivermectin for the circulating larval forms.
How can you prevent it?
Beginning at 8 weeks of age, a preventative is given monthly from April to December. These doses are dependent upon a current weight.
Any dog over the age of 5 months should be tested prior to using preventative. Following a negative test, preventative is given monthly from March through December. The test is repeated annually.
We also offer a 6-month injectable heartworm preventative. This product is available for healthy dogs receiving their first dose between 6 months and 7 years of age.
The preventative that we use also works against several intestinal parasites.
If you have any questions or would like more information,
please call us at 333-3847