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Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm Prevention

Methods to Prevent Heartworms

Heartworms,  Dirofilaria immitis, come from infected mosquitos that affect dogs, cats, ferrets, and other mammals. Heartworm disease has been found in all fifty states in both urban and rural areas. If left untreated, heartworms can cause serious health complications and in some cases even death.

Heartworm disease is preventable. Puppies and kittens should be started on monthly heartworm prevention once they are 8 weeks old. All of our heartworm preventatives (ivermectin, milbemycin oxime, moxidectin, selamectin) belong to a class of drugs called macrocyclic lactones.  Those medications are highly effective and very safe when given according to label instructions. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we will work to treat your pet and provide you with the knowledge and resources to take care of your pet while recovering from heartworm treatment in the event your pet becomes infected. If you believe your pet has been infected by heartworms, contact Blue Lake Animal Hospital as soon as possible and we are happy to help.

About six months after the infected mosquito bite, the heartworm larvae mature into adults. Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches long and live for up to 5-7 years. Adult heartworms create microfilaria or baby heartworms, which circulate in the blood and can be ingested and spread by mosquitos. We can test for the presence of adult heartworms and microfilaria in your pet.

Conditions of Heartworm

Heartworm disease is a serous and potentially fatal disease in dogs and cats. Symptoms include:

  • No Symptoms
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Exercise Intolerance
  • Fainting
  • Weight Loss
  • Lung Disease
  • Heart Failure
  • Sudden Death

At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we stage dogs that test positive for heartworm disease using blood work and chest x-rays. Treatment typically involves a month of doxycycline followed by 3 injections of Immiticide/Diroban (melarsomine). Treatment is expensive and can be tough on your pet. Some dogs have chronic changes from the heartworms that affect them the rest of their life even after treatment.

If you notice your pet beginning to cough, becoming sleepy and weak, you should consider visiting our team of veterinary professionals at Blue Lake Animal Hospital immediately. Prevention is recommended over treatment for heartworm disease any day!

Heartworm Prevention at Blue Lake Animal Hospital

The American Heartworm Society has found that transmission of heartworms does decrease in the winter, but due to the presence of warmer microenvironments in urban areas the risk of transmission of heartworms is never zero. We recommend keeping your pets on heartworm prevention year round. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital, we are prepared to help your family with heartworm disease or prevention and any other health issues your pet may be facing. You do not need to face these challenges alone. We are here to help walk with you through treatment and recovery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our clinic.

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