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Heartworm Prevention – How To Keep Your Pets Heart Safe!

By February 27, 2023No Comments

I don’t think any of us would argue about how very much we love and adore our furry babies. Here at York Vet, we see the deep love our clients have for each of their pets. We want to help you provide the best care for each pet and one of the things we can do is make sure your loved one has every advantage in this life.

One specific advantage we can help you give your pet is the advantage over those pesky mosquitos that spread heartworm disease! It only takes 1 bite from an infected mosquito to spread the microfilaria (baby heartworms) to your dog or cat. While there are many reasons why we love living in the south, one disadvantage we have is that we have very mild winters which means that it never really gets cold enough to freeze out the bugs or mosquitos. With year-round mosquitos, your pet’s chances of contracting heartworm disease increase significantly.

Heartworm disease is deadly. Once the microfilaria enters the bloodstream, they mature and develop and produce more heartworms. Adult heartworms can be up to a foot long and they live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of their host. As you can imagine, this tremendously affects how the organs function. Left untreated, this can lead to decreased appetite, a persistent cough, lethargy, and ultimately heart failure, buildup of excess fluid in the abdomen creating a potbellied appearance, difficulty breathing, and it can block the arteries that circulate blood to the heart and other organs.

Heartworm treatment is expensive and can be risky! The cost of heartworm treatment averages from $600$1200, requires a 3day hospital stay, and exercise restriction for roughly 810 weeks post heartworm treatment. While it is effective, it can be very hard on your pet’s body. The cost for prevention is much cheaper and your dog does not have to worry about going through difficult treatment and recovery. The peace of mind that comes from preventing this disease far outweighs the risks involved with a heartworm-positive patient.

There are many types of heartworm prevention on the market today. There are monthly options like Heartgard that also includes a dewormer. There are monthly products such as Simparica Trio which include not only heartworm prevention but flea, tick, and a dewormer as well. Proheart 12 is a yearly injection that can also be given to prevent heartworms if you don’t want to worry about remembering to give a chew every month. All of these products do a wonderful job in preventing heartworm disease.

You also have to be careful where you purchase your preventions from. While it may be cheaper to purchase from online pharmacies such as Chewy, 1800 Pet Meds, etc, these companies do not get their products directly from the manufacturer like your veterinarian does. Their products have often been from the black market or from companies that imitate manufacturer designs to make pet owners feel like they are purchasing the correct products. When you purchase directly from your veterinarian or their online pharmacy, those products are directly from the manufacturer, and they come with a 100% money-back guarantee. It basically provides an insurance policy for the owner. If your pet were to get heartworms while being on the prevention, the companies will pay for your pet’s heartworm treatment and most of the time, any other medical costs associated with a positive case. This is a promise that other online companies do not offer. We do not want you throwing your money away or possibly giving your pet something that could harm them. Unfortunately, we have seen several cases where this very thing has happened. So, you have to ask yourself, does the cheaper cost outweigh the risk?

All your pet needs are an annual heartworm test then prevention can be started, and you can receive peace of mind that your pet is safe.

While there are many things in our pet’s life that we cannot control such as congenital or breed specific issues or diseases, heartworm disease is not one of those issues. It is completely preventable, and all of our veterinarians and technicians are here to answer any questions you may have or discuss any concerns you may have.

For more information regarding heartworm disease, treatment, and prevention, please refer to the American Heartworm Society or give us a call and we will gladly help you!