Dog heartworms - prevention is essential in the USA!

Narrated from: Dog Health

Have you heard of heartworm disease? It is widespread in the USA, especially in the western part of the country. If you have just obtained a new dog, or you are traveling to another state with your canine companion, it is very important to be aware of the dangers that heartworms pose.

Heartworm is one of the most dangerous diseases that can affect a dog. Heartworms are parasites that live in your dog’s blood vessels. They are transmitted by mosquitoes, and there is no way to tell if the mosquito that bit your dog was infected or not!

Heartworm disease is very dangerous because it shows no visible symptoms until it is at a stage when your dog is in grave danger. Your dog may have heartworms and you would not know it, since the real damage would be done to the internal organs. Once the heartworms are grown, they will settle in your dog’s heart or in the lungs – that is when some symptoms may occur; coughing for instance. However, even then heartworms are difficult to spot and the vet might miss them, since the symptoms of the disease could mislead the vet into thinking that the infected dog has heart problems or lung cancer.

So, heartworm disease is easy to catch, could be fatal and the treatment is long and expensive – it could take at least 121 days and cost you more than $1,000!

That makes heartworm prevention an important issue.

Basically, heartworm prevention is surprisingly cheap – a year’s supply of heartworm preventative would cost about $80. There is a wide variety of preventatives you could use – some come in the form of pills, others should be injected like a vaccine, and there is always an oral alternative. Some better known medicines include Heartgard Plus, Interceptor (milbemycin oxime), Selamectin (Revolution). Make your choice carefully, since you will probably have to administer this medicine during the whole of your dog’s life – mosquitoes are always on the watch!

If you live in an area where heartworm disease is common, you should check if there is a seasonal calendar. In colder states, you should start a prevention therapy one month before the season in which mosquitoes are active (all local vets should have the necessary information) and continue the therapy until one month has passed after the mosquito season.

However, if you live in the southern states or in coastal areas, you should run an all-year program.

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