Community News

The Best Heartworm Treatment is Prevention!

Recently we received two heartworm-positive dogs at our Marathon Campus. What is heartworms and how can you prevent it?

Heartworm disease is a serious disease that results in severe lung disease, heart failure, other organ damage, and death in pets, mainly dogs, cats, and ferrets. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread through the bite of a mosquito. Heartworm disease is not contagious, meaning that a dog cannot catch the disease from being near an infected dog. Heartworm disease is only spread through the bite of a mosquito.

The treatment for heartworm disease is not easy on the dog or on the owner’s pocket book. Treatment can be potentially toxic to the dog’s body and can cause serious complications, such as life-threatening blood clots to the dog’s lungs. Treatment is expensive because it requires multiple visits to the veterinarian, bloodwork, x-rays, hospitalization, and a series of injections. 

The Best Treatment is Prevention! April is Heartworm Awareness Month, nationally, although year-round prevention is best! Talk to your dog’s veterinarian to decide which preventive is best for your dog. 

Many products are FDA-approved to prevent heartworms in dogs. All require a veterinarian’s prescription. Most products are given monthly, either as a topical liquid applied on the skin or as an oral tablet. Both chewable and non-chewable oral tablets are available. One product is injected under the skin every 6 months, and only a veterinarian can give the injection. Some heartworm preventives contain other ingredients that are effective against certain intestinal worms (such as roundworms and hookworms) and other parasites (such as fleas, ticks, and ear mites).

To help offset the cost of treating Scooby Doo and Coral for Heartworm disease donate to our Oscar’s Fund. A specific medical fund designated to helping our shelter animals that require medical treatment before being adopted!