It’s Time for Heartworm Prevention

Have you seen any of these flying around yet?

mosquito season means that it's time to start using heartworm prevention for your pets

(Image from Diagnostic Imaging Atlas)
┬áIt’s a mosquito, and in addition to being pesky creatures, they can also carry heartworms. Heartworms can be transferred to dogs or cats by just one mosquito bite. The teeny baby worms are passed from the mosquito to the dog or cat in the mosquito’s saliva when it bites your pet. The baby worms grow up and mature into adult worms. These worms live inside a dog’s or cat’s heart and can cause very serious health problems. With a bad heartworm infection, your pet could even die.

Dogs and cats with heartworm disease can be treated, but the treatment is not easy. It is much easier, and safer for your pet, to prevent the development of heartworm disease in the first place.

We have two options for heartworm prevention. There is a chewable pill for dogs and cats that is given once a month, or there is a shot for dogs that is given only twice a year. Both medicines work in the same way. The heartworm prevention medicines don’t prevent your pet from getting bitten by mosquitoes. If your pet is bitten by a mosquito that is carrying heartworms, the heartworm prevention medicines kill the teeny baby heartworms right away, so they don’t have a chance to grow up into adult heartworms and cause problems for your pet.

Just one mosquito bite can give your pet heartworms, so the time to start heartworm prevention is definitely before you see any mosquitoes. We often recommend that your pet stays on heartworm prevention year-round, as mosquito season starts and ends at a different time every year, depending on the weather. In fact, in mild winters, mosquito season may not end!

It is uncommon for cats to get heartworms, but it can happen. Depending on where you live and your cat’s lifestyle, your veterinarian may recommend that your cat should be on monthly heartworm prevention medicines.

Is your pet on heartworm prevention? When is the last time they were tested for heartworms? Call us or come in to get your pets tested, and start on heartworm prevention medicines. This is one of the easiest steps you can take to keep your pets healthy!

Check out our Heartworm Disease Resource Page for even more information about heartworms.

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