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Are Heartworm Pills Always Necessary?

Q:

Why do I have to give my dog heartworm pills? He never sees other dogs.

A:

Most canine infectious diseases are the result of direct contact between a healthy dog and an either infected dog or the bodily fluids/excrement of an infected dog. Things that people can usually see. This is not the case with heartworm. Heartworm is one that involves an intermediate host, and it’s one that often times goes unnoticed. It’s a mosquito.

The heartworm life cycle is essentially an infected dog that is bitten by a mosquito that takes an immature, larval heartworm and then bites your dog. After a variable amount of time, about six months, the larval heartworm then develops into an adult in the heart and lungs. The fortunate thing is that heartworm can easily be prevented. A simple blood test is used to make sure your dog doesn’t have it already, since putting a dog that has it on preventative can lead to complications.

Once it’s determined that your dog doesn’t have heartworm, a very safe medication, given at monthly intervals is prescribed to kill those larval heartworms before they mature into adults in the heart and lungs. Heartworm preventative should be given minimally during the warm weather months, April through November. Advances in the medication now also treat and prevent the infestation of other parasites such as intestinal worms and external parasites. So many people use the preventative all year round. So, the fact that your dog doesn’t see other dogs doesn’t matter. He doesn’t need to, not with those pesky little mosquitoes around.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Mark Verdino

 

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