Heartworms: Facts and Prevention Tips

Dogs get a lot of internal and external parasites. Dog owners are at a risk of being pestered by fleas, ticks and worms that your dog becomes infected with. The old adage “Prevention is better than cure” is ultimately applicable in this situation. Once your lovable pet gets heartworms, it is very difficult to cure. So what should you do to prevent heartworm infection?

Heartworm prevention in pets is not only cost effective, but also much healthier for your dog or cat

What Are Heartworms and Where does They Come From?

Some may think heartworms are an uncommon dog parasite. However, there are certain areas in the USA where there is a greater risk for dogs to get these parasites. These places include Oregon, California, and Arizona. So if you live somewhere here, you must regularly take your pet for a checkup.

The carrier of heartworms is mosquitoes. After each mosquito season, around April each year, doctors usually check the dogs for any infection. There is no immediately noticeable symptom that you can see when your pet gets bitten by mosquito carrying heartworm larvae. It takes 6-7 months before heartworms can be diagnosed in your pet’s  blood.

Heartworms can be as long as 12 inches, as long as ruler. They can live for 5 to 7 years in a dog’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. In one single animal, there can be 250 heartworms. If left untreated, your dog can die. However, the treatment can be expensive and that’s why pet shelters have a problem curing this infection.

Prevention of Heartworm Infection

Strengthening your pet’s immune and circulatory system is also important. This way, your pet can resist the infection better while it is undergoing treatment. You can find pet vitamins and supplements on 1-800-PetMeds that would help your pet maintain holistic health.

Another approach used for prevention is the use of heartworm preventative for preventing these parasites in surviving inside your dog’s system. There are tablets like Heartgard Plus and injectable shots that you or your vet can administer to your pet. You must remember to take your dog to the vet to have his or her timely preventive heartworm medications. Not only are you preventing the spread of heartworms in your dog’s body but also the possibility of infecting other animals around.

Don’t Give Mosquitoes A Biting Chance

Since they are the primary suspects, look around your neighborhood for possible habitats for these insects. Getting rid of mosquitoes can help prevent your dog getting the parasites in the first place. Stagnant waters should be poured out. Without the carrier, you and your other pets will have a greater chance of living heartworm free.

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