As fall begins, it’s important to keep giving your dog his heartworm medication. Most heartworm preventatives work retroactively, so you need to continue the medication for at least one month after mosquito season has totally ended. Many veterinarians recommend using heartworm prevention all year round even in areas with cold winters due to the protection the medications provide against other parasites.
Right now, there is a shortage of Immiticide, which is the only medication approved to treat a dog that is heartworm positive. The shortage of this drug makes heartworm prevention even more imperative.
Treatment has always been a poor cousin to prevention for this disease. By the time heartworm is diagnosed and treated, many dogs will already have permanent damage done to their lungs or heart. Treatment is expensive and exposes your dog to health risks as well.
Puppies can be started on heartworm medication as young as eight weeks of age. Any dog older than seven months of age should have a heartworm test before starting the preventive medication. You may want to discuss the various medications with your veterinarian to decide which one is the best choice for your individual dog.