Heartworm disease kills dogs. It is spread by mosquitoes which we have in abundance here in Florida. Florida has a lot of parasites in addition to heartworm such as hookworms, fleas, and ticks. I like to compare the two parasites fleas and heartworm because everyone notices fleas on their pets while heartworm disease is invisible. Fleas, however, are mostly an annoyance, while heartworm disease is deadly.
Because this disease can be fatal, we check your pet’s blood for it every year. If your dog tests positive, the treatment is effective, but it is painful and expensive. Fortunately, heartworm disease is easy to prevent with a monthly medication that you give at home. It is up to you to remember to give your dog heartworm prevention every month, all year long.
The monthly dose is extremely important because one missed dose exposes your dog to heartworm disease. There are a few tricks to help you remember to give heartworm prevention every month. The packages come with stickers that you can apply to your kitchen calender. Or, there is an app from Heartgard that will alert you on your phone that it is time for the monthly dose. Other medication companies will send you an email or text reminder if you sign up for it.
You have choices in which type of heartworm prevention you use for your pet. We typically recommend Heartgard, Sentinel, Trifexis, or Revolution. It all depends on your pet’s lifestyle and whether you want to prevent other parasites at the same time as heartworm. Heartworm prevention is an essential priority for your dog’s health. Please call us any time to discuss this disease and its prevention in more detail.