Just as your family doctor prescribes eating your daily fruits and veggies, we veterinarians strongly recommend heartworm prevention for your pets. From the thousands of pets I have treated, I believe it is not IF your pet will contract heartworm disease–it’s WHEN, if you don’t keep them on preventative medication. Clients will often hear me jokingly say, “Please keep this baby on heartworm preventatives 13-months out of the year.”
At least weekly, a pet owner visits our clinic with a lethargic, coughing dog or cat that is also retaining abdominal fluid and losing weight. For pets, having heartworm disease is like running on a treadmill 24 hours a day. Their hearts simply never catch a break. We can only imagine how tired and rundown they must feel.
While heartworm disease is most prevalent among dogs, cats can contract it, too. Thankfully, once we begin treatment, most animals eventually begin gaining weight back and returning to better health.
Why is heartworm disease so prevalent in our region? Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes and foxes can be heartworm carriers. The winds carry infected mosquitoes from miles away and equally contribute to the disease spreading among pets.
Most pet owners find it convenient and relieving to know many medications are combined to work together as flea and heartworm preventatives. This helps cut costs– and trust me–it is much cheaper and safer to prevent this disease than it is to treat it.
Finally, we recommend annual heartworm testing and buying medications directly from veterinarians. This ensures your pet is getting the proper dosage and legit medicine backed with a guarantee from a reputable company. It pains our own hearts to see pets suffer, especially when heartworm disease is preventable, so long as we, as pet owners, keep up with their routine medication.