There is no doubt that the prevalence of heartworm infesting and killing dogs has decreased greatly in the last 20 years especially with the advent of good monthly tablets and the use of an injection that protects dogs for 12 months.
In the 1990’s and the decades before that – if a dog was not on some form of heartworm control then I would have guaranteed the owner that their dog would be infested with heartworm within 12 months. But as the public becomes more aware of the problem, and as the prevention become more accessible, then the incidence of heartworm decreased dramatically.
But all this changed in the last 3 weeks where we have diagnosed a few dogs with heartworm. All these dogs were NOT showing any signs of the condition (which can take months or years to show signs) but were identified on dogs we were doing routing tests because the owner had “forgotten” to give the heartworm prevention.
And low and behold – these dogs came back positive for heartworm.
Heartworm is a worm that lives in the arteries of the lungs and in the right side of the heart and they literally hang onto the wall of the blood vessel and live off the red blood cells as they whip past.
The problem is that the number of worms can become large (into the hundreds and thousands) and the artery or heart can become blocked and the dog can die or become debilitated.
Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes and we all know that you cannot protect yourself (or your animal) from ‘mozzy’ bites. It is very important that you protect your dog from the infestation by using proper heartworm prevention.
So it is time for every dog owner to rethink their prevention program for heartworm.
If you have let your program lapse for the last 6 months or more then we recommend you bring your animal in for a blood test to see if your dog does not already have the condition.
If that test is negative, then we recommend you start your animal on heartworm prevention – if you are like me and going to forget to give a tablet every month then we recommend to use the yearly injection.
It does take 6 months after the mosquito bites your dog before we can detect it so we always recommend another test in 6 months’ time.
If you have only stopped your heartworm prevention in the last 6 months, then we recommend you restart the program and get a blood test in 6 months’ time
Remember you are the Health Guardian of your animal – the health of the animal is in your hands. Your decisions can affect the health and happiness of your animal.
Please keep your dog on heartworm prevention.
If you need any advice then please ring 41531399 or 41591009 and our staff will assist you and your pet