Heartworm Prevention

April is Heartworm Awareness Month. Did you know that heartworm is one of the most dangerous, yet most preventable, parasitic infestations out there? Here, your Temecula, CA veterinarian tells you all about preventing heartworm in your canine companion.

Why Prevent Heartworms Rather Than Treat Them?

First of all, preventing any disease, infection, or infestation is far easier, less expensive, and less worrisome than treating it after the fact. Heartworm treatment in particular is costly, time consuming (taking months in some cases), and risky. Killing off heartworms in your pet’s bloodstream runs the risk of blood-flow obstruction, and coughing, fever, and other serious health symptoms may appear concurrently. Preventing heartworm in the first place is much safer and smarter.

Should I Use Year-Round or Seasonal Preventatives?

In most cases, year-round preventatives are recommended, simply because they offer protection at all times. In addition, year-round preventative medications have been known to help protect against other intestinal parasites in addition to heartworms. Some of these parasites may even be able to be transmitted to humans or other pets in the home, so year-round medications are often a good idea.

In some areas, heartworms may only be a seasonal problem and pets may be given seasonal preventatives only. Ultimately, this is a decision to be made between you and your veterinarian!

What is the Medication Like?

Heartworm medicine can take a few forms. Sometimes, it can come in pill form or as a chewable tablet. Some heartworm medications are injectable via a syringe, and may require trips to your vet’s office on a regular basis if you can’t perform the injection at home. Most commonly, though, heartworm medication is like most other preventative medicines—it usually comes in a topical gel form, applied directly to your dog’s skin once a month or once every few months. Ask your vet for more details on the administration of your dog’s preventative medications.

How Do I Get My Dog the Medication He Needs?

If your dog isn’t wearing a proper heartworm preventative to protect against these dangerous parasites, act now to keep your dog in good health. Set up an appointment at your vet’s office to have your dog tested for heartworms (your vet must do this because giving a heartworm preventative to an already infected dog can prove deadly). Your Orangevale, CA veterinarian can then prescribe an appropriate preventative medication to protect your dog moving forward.

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