Educating yourself about dog heartworm disease and taking steps to prevent it is one of the best things you can do for your dog’s health. In this article, we’ll discuss what heartworms are, how dogs get heartworms, heartworm medication, heartworm treatment, and heartworm prevention for dogs.
What is Heartworms in Dogs?
According to American Heartworm Society, “Dog heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. “
How Do Dogs Get Heartworms?
Heartworms are spread through mosquito bites. Dogs who live near water are more prone to contracting heartworm disease, but regardless of where you live or whether your dog is mostly outside or inside, it’s impossible to keep your dog completely safe from mosquitos. All it takes is one bite from a mosquito for a dog to become infected. This is why it’s important to give your dog medication to protect against heartworms.
Heartworm Prevention for Dogs
Heartworms are 100% preventable. The best way to make sure your dog never suffers with the devastating effects of heartworms is to give your dog a heartworm medicine for dogs every month. Heartworm medication requires a prescription from your veterinarian and the dosage is based on your dog’s weight.
I did availability and price comparisons and found that both Chewy.com and VetApprovedRx.com have the same price of $42.99 for a 6-month supply of the chewable monthly heartworm medication, Heartgard Plus for Dogs, for dogs up to 25 pounds. Chewy.com gives a 5% discount if you set up auto-ship, and VetApprovedRx.com gives a 5% discount on your first order if you sign up for their emails. You have to order based on your dog’s weight. By the way, I personally received outstanding customer service for several years from VetApprovedRX.com. You can read my complete review HERE.
Both places will contact your vet to verify the prescription. Simply give your vet’s contact information upon ordering, and they take care of it for you! Please note that you have to have your dog tested for heartworms before your vet can prescribe this medication. So contact your vet to see what their process is so they can approve the prescription when you’re ordering this online.
- Kills heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, and other parasites
- Convenient chewable made with real beef that your dog will love
- Safe and effective; EPA and FDA approved
Given once a month for life, HEARTGARD Plus is the easiest way to help protect your pet from deadly heartworm disease. HEARTGARD Plus also treats and controls hookworms and roundworms.
Caution! Because these are delicious and can be mistaken for treats by your dog and children, please remember that they are medication and should be kept out of reach for your dog, and for children.
If heartworm is caught early, it’s quite possible for your dog to make a full recovery. Many dogs have tested positive for heartworm and gone on to live healthy lives once treated. But you should know that heartworm treatment for dogs is a very long and expensive process.
According to Pets.CostHelper.com, general heartworm treatment for dogs costs around $1,000 US dollars, and that doesn’t include any additional care your dog may need depending on how far along the heartworm disease has progressed. If the disease has progressed too far and your dog is suffering, you may have to make the heartbreaking decision of putting your dog down. Again, the best thing you can do to protect your dog from heartworms is to make sure they get a heartworm medication every month.
For much more detailed information regarding heartworm in dogs, I suggest reading a blog post from Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, Doggy Dan called, What You Need to Know About Heartworm Prevention. Doggy Dan is the owner of the dog training website, TheOnlineDogTrainer.com. His website contains massive amounts of helpful information about dog health, care and training.
Do Cats Get Heartworms?
You may be wondering if cats can also get heartworms. According to PetMd.com, “Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite, Dirofilaria immitis, which is spread by mosquitos. While cats are susceptible to heartworm, they are fairly resistant, imperfect hosts. Cats acquire heartworm far less than dogs in the same geographic location, with only 5-20% affected.”
Their blog post, Heartworm Disease in Cats, goes into much more detail and does, ultimately, recommend heartworm medication for cats. Please talk with your vet about whether your cat should receive heartworm prevention medication.
Related Article: Pet Flea and Tick Control
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