Why is Heartworm Disease Prevention Important?
Even indoor pets are not safe from the risk of heartworm disease, which can easily be spread from one animal to another by an infected mosquito. Heartworm is a very serious, potentially fatal disease that is transmitted when a mosquito bites an animal and takes a blood meal. It can take years for your pet to show any symptoms of this disease, making it even more dangerous. Treatment is possible, but it is expensive and can be stressful for your pet. Furthermore, your pet’s heart and surrounding organs may have been irreparably effected, leaving them weak and vulnerable to other illnesses.
The best “treatment” we can recommend for heartworm disease is preventing it altogether. This involves giving your pet monthly doses of a preventative all year round.
How Infection Occurs
The heartworm larvae that an infected mosquito carries will enter the host’s blood stream and travel to the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels, where they can anchor themselves and grow up to 12 inches long. Heartworms are a type of parasitic, thread-like roundworm known as Dirofilaria immitis, and they can affect dogs, cats, and various other mammals.
It only takes one mosquito and one bite from that mosquito to spread heartworm to an untreated animal. Since mosquitoes are capable of going dormant during the winter months, it is essential to keep your pet on heartworm preventatives every month of the year.
What We Recommend
At Brown Veterinary Hospital, we recommend several quality products to keep pets protected. These include:
- Heartgard Plus: An easy-to-give chewable treat for dogs. Heartgard kills heartworm larvae and can treat and control roundworms and hookworms as well. This preventative needs to be given every 30 days to be effective.
- Advantage Multi: We recommend Advantage Multi for cats and dogs. This topical solution must be applied directly to your pet’s skin on the back of their neck every 30 days. Along with preventing heartworm disease, this product also kills adult fleas and treats and controls roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
- Trifexis: Trifexis is an oral tablet for dogs that must be given every 30 days. It prevents heartworm disease, kills fleas and helps to treat and control roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.
We would be happy to help you choose the appropriate preventatives for your pet. Give us a call at (812) 645-0715 or stop in and visit to get started!