Heartworm Prevention

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How is it prevented?
1) A simple cost-effective test is available from your vet clinic. Be sure and have your dog tested before starting any preventative treatments.
2) Many preventative options are available, given monthly and usually with the added benefit of flea control as well. Work together with your vet to determine which plan will be best for your dog.
3) Treatment starts in May/June and continues until Oct/Nov.

At what age should prevention begin?
Preventative treatment should begin before your dog turns one year old. This decision is best made between you and your vet.

Symptoms of dog heartworm
Most of the symptoms can be noticed if you know your dogs regular behaviour. Therefore it is very important to be aware of the following symptoms: mild cough, fatigue, breathing difficulties, severe coughing, loss of appetite, weight loss, jaundice, collapse. Heartworm can be fatal if left untreated.

Heartworm prevention
The most effective way is to prevent your dog from getting infected by heartworm. This can be achieved by the following ways:

Regular blood testing: Your puppy or dog should visit your vet for blood testing on a regular basis. Routine blood testing will also help in identifying the overall health condition of your dog.

Avoid exposure to heartworm: Heartworm is spread via mosquito bites. Therefore it is important to keep your dogs play area as clean as possible. Don't let water pool up and remove anything that can hold water. Even the smallest amount of water will attract mosquitoes. Mosquitoes prefer biting from dusk till dawn, worsening when the weather is hot or humid. Avoid playing outside during the peak biting times in your area.

Heartworm prevention medication: Heartworm preventative oral tablets or topical spot on are available by prescription from your vet following a blood test screening. Work along with your vet to determine which heartworm preventative medicine is best suited for your dog.

Note: It has been found that the heartworm parasite also infects cats in the same manner as it does in dogs. Whether your pet is a dog or cat, heartworm prevention is safe and inexpensive and the key to your pets good health.

Courtesy of Marilyn Murray ~ For The Love of Animals