Your Dog and Heartworm

April is Heartworm Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to think about heartworms and the danger they pose to our canine companions. That way, you can make sure that your dog stays safe! Below, your Marietta, GA veterinarian tells you more about your dog and heartworms.

Why Bother Preventing Heartworms?

As is the case with most health issues, preventing a heartworm infestation is much easier, cheaper, and safer than treating one after the fact. Treatment of a heartworm infestation is difficult and time-consuming, and it has risks; killing off heartworms present in the bloodstream can cause serious side effects including coughing, fever, and obstruction of blood flow. Often, if a heartworm infestation isn’t caught early enough, the dog doesn’t survive.

Clearly, it’s best to prevent a heartworm infestation ahead of time. You’ll be able to do that effectively with the proper preventative medications.

What Do Preventatives Look Like?

Heartworm preventatives might come in a topical gel form, applied directly to your dog’s skin on a regular basis, or they might be administered in tablet or pill form. Some heartworm medications are injectable and get administered at your vet’s office with a syringe. Talk to your vet to find out what kind of heartworm medication might work best for your particular dog.

There are year-round and seasonal heartworm preventatives; year-round medication is often recommended simply for the consistent protection it provides, and they also protect against a variety of other intestinal parasites in addition to heartworm. Seasonal preventatives may also be recommended, but it’s ultimately up to your veterinarian—consult with them to find out what will work best for your pet.

How Do I Get My Dog Started?

Does your dog need checked for heartworms? Need to get them set up on a regular preventative? Contact your vet’s office to set up an appointment. The first order of business will be to have your dog checked for heartworms that are already present—a treatment regimen will be started if they are discovered, because a preventative can’t be given until the infestation is completely eradicated. If your dog is heartworm-free, a preventative can be given right away.

If you have more questions about protecting your dog from heartworm, or other parasites like fleas, ticks, and other worm types, call your Marietta, GA animal hospital today. We are always here to help with all of your dog’s most important care needs!

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