Why should my pet be on Heartworm prevention?

Welcome to our blog! We have put together a list of commonly asked questions we hear in our exam rooms at Westside. Hopefully these will be both helpful and bring a smile to your face.  We love chatting with you and if you have any suggestions or other questions please feel free to call us at 573-893-7707. 

Why should my pet be on heartworm prevention?

        I’m sure at some point your veterinarian has talked to you about heartworms and you’ve asked yourself this exact question. Heartworms are not visible like fleas and ticks so they commonly get swept under the rug and ignored. Heartworms, however, can cause fatal heart disease in your pet so I wanted to take a few moments to stress the importance of heartworm prevention.

       Heartworms are deadly parasites that hitch a ride on mosquito taxi’s as babies and use your dog's circulatory system as a their ideal hampton house to grow up in. Okay, that is a little imaginative of an analogy, but it’s very close to reality. Heartworms are passed easily from dog to dog through mosquito bites and are becoming progressively more common in Missouri. Below you will find a diagram showing the heartworm lifecycle and you can see how they are passed from dog to dog and eventually grow to adults in the heart.

Luckily there are many options out there to keep your pet safe! Here at Westside we stock a variety of preventatives that give you freedom to pick the best fit for you and your fur baby.

ProHeart® 6 (moxidectin): This is an injection that provides 6 full months of continuous heartworm protection in a single dose. Just a simple trip to your veterinarian is all you’ll need to give your best friend extended protection from heartworm disease. With this prevention you will need to repeat a heartworm test in 6 months and once yearly after that.Benefits of this prevention is the convenience of one time dosing! So if you’re like me and struggle to remember monthly doses try Proheart 6!

Heartgard: This is a chewable tablet that you give to your pet once a month just like flea medication.Benefits of this method are that you only have to test your pet once every 12 months instead of 6 months and it is also a preventative against roundworms and hookworms! In the long run we have found that heartgard is a cheaper but equally as effective method.

Sentinel and Interceptor Plus: These are chewable tablets given monthly just like flea prevention.Benefits of these tablets are that they each prevent against several types of intestinal parasites and Sentinel prevents fleas as well!

Revolution: This is a topical solution that is placed monthly on the back of your pets neck. It can be used for both cats and dogs and is effective against heartworms, ear mites, fleas, and some ticks. In cats it is effective at preventing roundworms and hookworms as well.This is probably the most price friendly option we have here at the clinic but is still really effective!

Commonly Heard Questions and Comments:

"Heartworm medication is too expensive":

We completely understand financial constraints and the need to be conservative. However, let me give you a few facts to consider before you decide that monthly treatments are too expensive.

  1.  Monthly heartworm prevention is actually cheaper than monthly flea and tick prevention.
  2.  If your dog does contract heartworms the treatment to get rid of them is both potentially fatal and can  cost close to or over $1000. So which option seems cheaper to you now?

"My dog doesn’t spend a lot of time outside":

That is a very good point but, we would like to point out that even a potty break is enough time for a mosquito bite. While this is less likely, there are those pesky mosquitos that figure out how to get into the house.

"Why do they need a heartworm test before starting heartworm prevention?":

This is a measure taken to protect your pet. If your pet already has heartworms in his or her system the preventative can cause a dangerous reaction and potentially kill them.

Hopefully this blog has cleared up some of the questions about the need for heartworm prevention. I personally have lost a pet to heartworm disease and find it to be just as important if not more important than flea and tick prevention! Let us know if you have any questions or head to Westside and let us set your pet up for heartworm prevention!


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