Four Ways to Help Protect Your Dog from Heartworm Disease

November 13, 2017 9:06 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

All it takes is one mosquito bite. One bite from an infected mosquito, and your dog now has heartworms. Heartworms are parasitic worms that are transferred by mosquitoes and affect dogs, cats, and other mammals. These foot-long worms make their home inside the heart, lungs and arteries, causing serious and often fatal damage to your pet’s organs.

Although your dog’s chance of getting heartworms is about 1 in 200, is that a risk you are willing to take? Heartworms are treatable, but treatment is often difficult and expensive, and there’s never a guarantee your dog will recover. Prevention, on the other hand, is very simple and inexpensive. To help protect your pet, here are a few heartworm prevention tips from your local veterinarian in Bolivar, MO:

  • Regular veterinarian visits: Unfortunately, a lot of pet owners only bring their pets in to the vet when they’re sick, but keeping up with your pet’s routine checkups can help prevent a host of diseases and health risks, including heartworms. Routine heartworm testing and blood tests are usually included in your pet’s regular checkup. Your vet will let you know how often your pet should have these tests done based on whether or not you live in a high-risk area for heartworm disease and other risk factors.
  • Using preventative medication: There are a variety of inexpensive heartworm prevention medications available that will help protect your pet from mosquitoes and prevent heartworm. Just remember that these medications do not work on mature heartworms and can actually make the problem worse if administered to a pet that already has the disease. You should talk to your veterinarian in Bolivar, MO to make sure that it is safe to give heartworm medication to your pet and find out what product they recommend.
  • Reduce your pet’s exposure to mosquitoes: Since mosquitoes are the carriers for heartworm disease, helping to minimize your pet’s exposure to mosquitoes can also help minimize his risk of contracting the disease. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so try to prevent small amounts of water from accumulating in flowerpots, outdoor toys and other areas around your home. You may also want to consider investing in a pesticide to use around your yard. Just be sure to use a pet-friendly product.
  • Know the symptoms: Sometimes even your best efforts will not protect your pet from contracting heartworm disease. If your pet does get heartworms, catching the disease early on can make a huge difference in treating the disease successfully. Early signs of heartworm disease you should watch for include coughing, vomiting, asthma-like symptoms, lack of appetite and weight loss.

While prevention is your best option for combating heartworm disease, treatment is also an option, especially if the disease is caught early on. At the Animal Care Clinic of Bolivar we offer both heartworm testing and preventative care as well as treatment for heartworm disease. If you want the best care for your pet, visit our animal hospital in Bolivar, MO today!

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