The American Heartworm Society recently updated its recommendations regarding the importance of heartworm prevention. The new recommendation of the American Heartworm Society is that all dogs should be on year-long protection, all the time. The recommendation comes as there has been some resistance to common heartworm preventatives and treatment, and the goal is to decrease this resistance by ensuring all dogs are protected year-round. You should always speak with your veterinarian before starting a heartworm prevention program.
In the United States, most heartworm preventatives are given on a monthly basis, although a re-introduction of an injectable product may change that. One of the most commonly prescribed monthly heartworm prevention medications is Heartgard, which is manufactured by Merial. Heartgard Plus comes as a dual protection product, not only preventing heartworm (with ivermectin), but treating common intestinal parasites as well like roundworm and hookworms (with pyrantel).
Prevention of heartworm infection, although it may seem costly to some, is much safer than treatment of a heartworm infection. This is why: adult heartworms typically live in the right side of the heart, as they are treated with medications, the worms die and can become lodged in the lung, causing serious illness and even death. This is also why dogs should be tested before they are started on preventative medications.
The nice thing about heart worm prevention is that it’s so simple and convenient to do. When a pet contracts heartworm disease is can be very serious and they typically will not show any clinical signs of illness until the disease has reached a severe state, at which time, even treatment can be life threatening. Prevention involves 3 aspects: regular blood testing, preventatives medications, and decreasing exposure to mosquitoes (which transmits heartworm). Most heartworm prevention products come as a monthly chewable treat. Common products for prevention of heart worm include Tri-Heart Plus, Heartgard, Iverhart Plus, Revolution, Interceptor and Advantage Multi.
So, protect your pet’s health and speak with your veterinarian about heartworm prevention today!