It’s been a while since you’ve heard from us. It has been a busy start to the year so far! It’s time to get back to learning all about your new puppy/kitten’s needs.
Your puppies have all gotten their first round of vaccinations and are doing great! At your first visit your veterinarian either gave you a heartworm prevention sample or said that you’d start one soon. What in the world are heartworms? Does the regular dewormer not take care of them? How often do I give them this or is this one pill all it takes? And what about my cats, do I need to give them prevention? There is a lot of misinformation and many misconceptions out there about heartworm disease.
Dogs become infected with heartworm disease by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry the larvae and when they bite a dog, they pass the larvae into the bloodstream and then the larvae develop into adults and multiply. Once the larvae develop into adults, they settle within the right ventricle of the heart obstructing the blood flow into the lungs. When the amount of heartworms is enough to obstruct a vast majority of the flow, the dog’s heart becomes comprised and the end result is heart failure. Treatment for heartworm disease in an otherwise healthy dog is on average $1,500-$2,000. Heartworm prevention costs anywhere from $9.00-$13.00 per month, therefore making it cheaper to give your dog prevention vs. having to treat for heartworms. Before starting your dog on heartworm prevention we require a negative heartworm test for any dog over 6 months of age. Below are some articles where more information on canine heartworm disease can be found, as well as recent pictures from a dog who did not survive heartworm disease.
Heartworm disease is very different for cats. Generally heartworms cause more respiratory problems. Without going into too much boring (but educational) detail, heartworms live more in the pulmonary artery and lungs of cats and there are generally less of them. The problem with heartworm disease in cats is there is no way to definitively diagnose it and there’s no way to treat it. The transmission is the same in cats as it is in dogs (mosquitoes). How many of you have indoor only cats? There’s no way your indoor cats can get heartworm disease, right? Now, how many times have you had to kill a pesky mosquito that has made its way into your home? Therefore, it is important to keep your cat (whether indoor or outdoor) on heartworm prevention. The good news is that there is 1 product for cats that prevents heartworms, fleas, intestinal parasites, ear mites, and scabies (a skin mite). Wow! All of that in a topical product given once a month! Below are some articles where you can find more information on feline heartworm disease.