As a pet owner, your dog’s health is of utmost importance to you. You want your pet to live a long, healthy and enjoyable life. So how do you keep your dog free from life-threatening diseases like heartworms? Many pet owners know they should give their pets monthly pills, but they don’t understand the real answer to this question: why should I give my dog heartworm medicine?
Heartworms are a deadly parasite. Once infected, heartworms are difficult and expensive to cure. The easiest and most cost effective way to treat heartworms is to prevent them.
Heartworms spread through mosquito bites. Just one bite from a mosquito carrying the disease can infect your dog. After a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, it takes approximately seven months for the adult heartworms to form. Adult heartworms grow as large as 12 inches in length and can life five to seven years.
When you dog first develops heartworm disease, you many not notice any symptoms. As the disease develops, your dog may begin to cough. Your dog will become winded as he or she exercises, and with severe heartworm disease, he or she may pass out, retain fluids or emit odd sounds from their lungs. If heartworms are not treated, your dog will most likely die from the disease.
Veterinarians treat heartworm disease with injections of medicine such as melarsomine. Two to three injections kill adult worms in the heart. Prior to receiving injections, dogs must go through blood work, X-rays and other tests to diagnose the severity of the dog’s heartworm disease. With all this testing and medicine, treatment of heartworms can cost up to $1,000.
Dogs must stay quiet and relaxed during heartworm treatment. As adult heartworms die, they break into pieces. Those pieces can block the pulmonary vessels if the dogs exercise. Therefore, it is vital to keep pets calm while undergoing heartworm treatment.
The best method of treating heartworms is to prevent them in the first place. Give your dog heartworm prevention medication every month, regardless of whether or not it is mosquito season. Depending on the weight of your dog, heartworm prevention medicine costs approximately $30 to $90 for the year. For just a few dollars a month, you can keep your dog healthy and happy and ensure you don’t pay for costly treatment of a deadly disease.
The Old Dog House is Northeast Florida’s first nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to giving older and senior dogs a second chance at a new life. We rely solely on the generosity of the individuals in our community for assistance in furthering our mission to give older and senior dogs a second, sometimes third, chance at living out their lives in dignity.