When it comes to heartworm disease , your veterinarian in Cupertino will inform you that prevention for your canine is key. Heartworm disease is a potentially life-threatening infection that is transmitted through mosquito bites and causes worms to grow in your petâs heart. Continue reading to learn how heartworm preventatives protect your dog.
Protection Against Heartworm Disease
You may be surprised to hear that heartworm prevention medications do not protect your pet from the initial infection. Instead, a heartworm preventative kills off heartworms that may be in your dogâs system, but only those that are in their larval stages. Because they do not address adult heartworms, these medications are not suitable for treating an active heartworm infection. There is a selection of heartworm preventatives available. Some options are oral medications while others are topical. Also, some medications have monthly dosages, while others need to be administered as infrequently as every 6 months.
Protection Through a Prescription
It frustrates some pet owners that they need to have a yearly prescription from their veterinarian to purchase heartworm preventatives. However, there is a good reason for this requirement. Before providing you with a heartworm prevention prescription, your veterinarian will test your dog for an active heartworm infection. The reason for this is that if your pet is already infected with heartworm disease, then she may suffer life-threatening side effects if treated with preventive medication. Even if you believe that your dog has been continuously protected for the past year, a dose that was missed, spit out, or vomited up may have left your pet vulnerable to infection for a period.
Protection from Infection Year-Round
Because mosquitoes are less active during the winter in many parts of the country, some dog owners only treat their pets with heartworm preventatives for part of the year. However, due to unpredictable temperature changes, the American Heartworm Society advises dog owners in every state to treat their pets with heartworm preventatives year-round. Protecting your dog from heartworms through every season is a smart way to help ensure her health.