Heart worm infection in dogs is a problem that is growing and spreading. Heartworm prevention is necessary to maintain the health of your dogs by providing a safe and effective treatment.
Current preventative medications have a low risk and are far more affordable than treating a dog with an infection.
Preventing your pet from contracting heart worm disease is so important because treating a dog infected with the parasites poses a greater risk for the dog and is a lengthy process.
Take a look at the video below, which explains why using a monthly preventive is so important and talk to your vet about his recommendations. An infection with adult worms can be fatal and the treatment is painful.
Before prescribing a course of preventive medication, the veterinarian will test to see whether your dog is already infected. Generally, the preliminary test is performed annually even if your pet is already on preventatives. The test requires a sample of blood, which is processed and placed on slides. The slides are viewed through a high-powered microscope to determine if heart worm larvae are present. If the larvae are found, your pet will require immediate intervention.
If there are no larvae in the blood sample, monthly heart worm preventatives can be prescribed by your veterinarian who will advise which type is most suitable for your pet.
Why Heartworm Prevention For Dogs is so Important!
There are several brand names available and all these treatments are proven safe and effective. The most popular comprise a simple to use medicine that is administered once a month. Medicines that can be administered daily are also available; however, this method requires diligence on the part of the pet owner to be effective – the monthly treatments are much easier for you and your dog.
Preventative treatment is quite simple if you follow the advice of your veterinarian. The most convenient and effective choice is a monthly treatment administered every thirty days. Your veterinarian will recommend one of the most common and most tested brands.
While there is a large amount of information on the Internet about alternative medicines and natural treatments, none of these are proven effective under scientific testing. These options may actually cause your pet harm and several over-the-counter medicines have been linked to pet deaths. There are herbal products available for the prevention of heartworm; however, you should consult with a holistic veterinarian before proceeding with these. It is important to mention that many of these herbal treatments were tested and found only to be mildly effective. However, this is a personal choice and you will want to consider the risk to your pet before making a final choice (you might like to read our article on natural treaments and whether it is really worth taking the risk).
The American Heartworm Society recommends treatment with a preventative drug that will kill the microfilariae (the juvenile heartworms), take a look at their information by using the link.
The drug used to kill the microfilariae is called Ivermectin. There are unfortunately, some unscrupulous Internet sites that are selling Ivermectin intended for use with large animals (farm animals), which requires dilution to obtain an appropriate dose for a dog.
The average person is not skilled enough to calculate the proper dose and dilution factors. This can result in pets being given the wrong dosage and unnecessary suffering caused as a result.
If you would like to read more about heart worm, take a look at this page from the Companion Animal Parasite Council which specifically deals with the subject.
Heartworm prevention for your dog will protect a beloved pet from a possibly fatal illness. Preventative medicines are significantly cheaper than the cost of treating an infected dog. It will save your animal from a dreadful infection and it will spare you a great deal of heartache.