Heartworm prevention is an essential part of pet care, especially if you live in southern states with high populations of mosquitoes. Heartworm prevention comes in various forms such as topical medication, ingestible tablets or an injection. It works by eliminating the heartworm parasite at its larval stages so that it cannot mature into adult heartworms.
Larvae can molt into an adult stage in as little as 51 days and once they progress into adults, heartworm prevention is no longer effective and a stronger course of treatment is needed. That is why heartworm preventatives need to be administered on a very strict schedule. Oral and topical preventatives need to be administered once a month while injectables are every 6 months.
Once the heartworms have entered the adult stage they require a very expensive treatment plan that can take up to 6 months to complete. During the this treatment time your dog will need to be under strict exercise restriction because the greater the physical exertion the more more damage the heartworms can cause to the heart and lungs.
Thus, prevention is key!
So please discuss heartworm prevention with your veterinarian during your annual routine visit for your pet. Heartworm tests are also vital to ensuring that your dog is negative for heartworms before starting their heartworm prevention plan and also to make sure that it is effective.