What Are Heartworms?
Quite simply, Heartworms are parasites that can do damage to your dog or cat’s heart. Heartworm disease (the buildup of numerous heartworms) is always fatal if left untreated. Treatment for heartworm disease can be extremely expensive and will often shorten your pet’s life, due to the extensive damage that is done to their cardiac system. Heartworm prevention is a far better option. It is very affordable, and is not harmful to your pet. Veterinarians will suggest a preventative plan (usually to be given once per month).
How Can My Dog Get Heartworms?
Your pet can contract Heartworms from a mosquito. It is not uncommon for mosquitoes to carry the heartworm larvae. When the mosquito feeds on your pet, the heartworm larvae is able to enter the blood stream during the exchange of blood / saliva. Once the larvae are inside of your dog or cat, they relocate to the right side of the heart and begin to reproduce rapidly. A heartworm infestation is dangerous because they begin to block the blood flow throughout the body.
Heartworm disease (dirofilariasis) is extremely serious, and fatal unless treated immediately. Veterinarians consider a pet to have heartworm disease once adult heartworms have blocked major blood vessels that support vital organs (kidney, liver, lungs). A dog with heartworm disease will visually appear depressed and sluggish. Excessive coughing is also a common sign of heartworms, because of the blockage to the heart and lungs.
What Is Heartworm Prevention?
Current medical technology allows us to eliminate the heartworm larvae before they are able to develop and reproduce inside of the pet’s body. While it’s just plain impossible to completely avoid mosquitoes, Veterinarians have found that a monthly treatment can help to prevent the heartworm larvae from growing into adult form. According to Dr. Silberman, Veterinarian at Tri-County Animal Hospital in New Jersey, this is given to dogs on a monthly basis, even in northern states where heartworm disease was non-existent in the past. We suggest using a monthly heartworm preventative like Heartgard to ensure that your pet is safe from this fatal and painful disease. Heartworm prevention is a requirement to keeping a safe and healthy dog – and much less expensive.
The Life Cycle Of Heartworms:
The Different Types Of Heartworm Prevention Available
Several large pharmaceutical companies have heartworm prevention products available. Each one has its strengths & weaknesses, which we have made available to you. It is also important to understand that there are several small businesses offering `pure ivermectin’ (the active ingredient in many heartworm preventatives) over the internet. We advise against purchasing products not recognized by the VMA because dosage is difficult and they often offer the product designed for horses, which can prove to be fatal for your dog. Feel free to peruse the information, consult with your veterinarian and choose the best heartworm preventative for your pet. The Following Products Are Recognized By The Veterinary Medical Association (VMA):
- Heartgard Plus Chewables
- Interceptor Flavor Tabs
- Advantage Multi Topical Solution
- Iverhart Max Chewable Tablets
- Sentinel Flea Medicine Tabs
Which Heartworm Preventative Do We Recommend?
There are quite a few different brands of heartworm preventative on the market, and many of them work quite well. You’ll find that many Veterinarians and pet owners will usually stand behind a particular brand and only use that one. However, after years of personal experience in the Veterinary field, we have found HeartGard Plus Chewables to be the best option.
Why We Prefer HeartGard Plus Chewables:
- Ease of administration – There is no other product that can compete with Heartgard in terms of taste. This company has created a chewable cube made of real beef that dogs love (they think that its a treat). Many of the “flavored tablets” aren’t very appealing to the dog, forcing you to shove it down their throat.
- Extremely Effective – It works so well that Heartgard products carry a strong guarantee. “If your pet becomes heartworm positive while on Heartgard’s Preventative, they will pay for 100% of the treatment.” After w0rking in a Veterinary office for over 15 years, I have never seen a Heartworm Positive pet that was using Heartgard. However, I have witnessed heartworm positive pets that were using their competitor’s products (less than 5 cases).
- Extremely Safe - The dosages or Ivermectin and Pyrantel are calculated according to your pet’s weight and will not cause harm to them.
- Recommended By Veterinarians – According to MDI Data, HEARTGARD Plus is “the Veterinarian’s #1 choice for heartworm disease prevention in dogs”
Make Sure That Your Pet Is Protected!
Regardless of the particular preventative that you choose, heartworm prevention is an absolute requirement for your pet’s well being. Mosquitoes are everywhere (they can even come inside the house) – and according to Dr. Silberman of Tri-County Animal Hospital in Wayne, NJ ”it only takes one mosquito to infect your dog with heartworms”. There is no reason to risk your pet’s life when you can easily prevent a problem by spending a few dollars per month on heartworm prevention. Heartworm prevention for dogs is a requirement for their health, just like the “Rabies Vaccine” should be given once per year – Heartworm Prevention should be given once per month.