Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection that is spread from animal to animal through infected mosquitos.
When the mosquito bites your pet, it transfers some heartworm larvae into her bloodstream. Although heartworm larvae, known as microfilaria, are harmless to the mosquito, once they make their way into your pet, they have a rich food source from which they can grow. The immature heartworms migrate through the blood to your pet's heart, lungs, and the blood vessels that serve them. Here they can live comfortably, maturing into adults that are capable of reproducing.
Each heartworm can potentially grow up to a foot in length and can live as long as seven years. As the number of heartworms in your pet's body grows, it starts to impact her health and wellbeing. The blood vessels, lungs, and arteries become congested and this can make it difficult for oxygenated blood to reach the major organs, which over time can lead to them becoming damaged. Without treatment, organ failure is inevitable, and in most cases will prove fatal.
The good news is that it is possible for your pet to avoid ever suffering from heartworms thanks to the wide choice of heartworm preventatives that are available and the support of your veterinarian.
What Are Heartworm Preventatives?
Heartworm preventatives is the term used to describe the range of products and treatments that can protect your precious pet from contracting heartworm disease. Despite many owners being concerned about the practicalities and costs of administering monthly preventatives, heartworm protection is relatively inexpensive and straightforward to administer. Costs typically range between $8 to $20 each month depending on the product that you choose.
Heartworm preventatives are only available on prescription from veterinarians and cannot be purchased over the counter. For this reason, it is important that you obtain an appointment to get a new prescription before your pet's current supply of chosen preventative runs out.
Types of Heartworm Preventative
There are various types of heartworm preventative available and your vet in Denton, TX will be able to help you decide which is likely to be the best choice for your pet. These are typically provided in the form of a monthly chewable pill or a topical 'spot-on' treatment that is also applied once each month. In addition to this, there is also a twice-annual injection. While they all protect against heartworms, some will also help protect your pet from other parasites such as fleas, ticks, mites, and other worms.
As with all preventatives, it is absolutely crucial that you administer these preventatives on time every time. Each is designed to be effective for a set period of time and even being just a day late in giving the next dose could see your pet being left at risk of developing heartworms. In fact, the majority of cases of pets diagnosed with heartworms arise due to a late or missed dose of their usual preventative. Set reminders for yourself and don't let anything get in the way.
If you would like more information about heartworms and the preventatives used to keep your pet safe from the debilitating and potentially deadly effects of this condition, please contact our veterinarians in Denton, TX today by calling (940) 380-9393.