“Your dog is heartworm positive” doesn’t mean the end of the lifeline for your dog. Although various heartworm prevention products are available today, the vast majority of dogs will suffer from heartworm infections. Most likely, the reason lies in ignorance of the risk, or maybe it is because the dog owners are reluctant to spend monthly preventive funds.
But once the first alarm sounds, it’s important for dog owners to understand that knowing heartworm status is a good thing, and taking steps for the right treatment at the right time.
Heartworm positive does not mean your dog has a short lifespan. Infested heartworms can live 5-7 years in an untreated dog.
Treating heartworm is challenging but easy to prevent. With monthly preventative measures, it is possible to prevent further heartworm infection. But the disease is expensive to treat and usually fatal when diagnosed. So prevention is much better than cure.
The dog is an ideal host for heartworms. This means that heartworms live in the heart, where they mature into adults, mate and reproduce as immature worms – microfilariae. When the infected dog is bitten by a mosquito, it transmits this blood-borne parasite to another animal by biting it. If heartworms are not treated in time, they multiply and can cause lung, heart and organ damage.
How preventive measures can help
Ordinary heartworm pills do not kill heartworms. You can protect your dog from heartworm with specially formulated preventative solutions containing ivermectin, selamectin, milbemycin oxime, or imidacloprid moxidectin. These preventatives include Heartgard, Revolution, Interceptor, and Advocate, which are available in either tablet or topical forms.
These products kill heartworm larvae and prevent heartworm infections in your dog. It is effective only in the early stages of the disease. These preventatives do not kill adult heartworms. So don’t give heartworm prophylaxis if your dog is diagnosed with heartworm. Usually, adult worms are treated with an arsenic-based compound or removed through surgery. But these treatments are very expensive.
Some proactive steps to prevent heartworm symptoms
All dog lovers would like to have a healthy and happy dog! So what can you do to prevent heartworm disease?
Monitor your dog closely
Reduce exposure to mosquitoes and keep your dog away from them
Arrange an annual medical examination with your veterinarian
Give your dog the right heartworm preventatives in a timely manner
Confirm your dog is not heartworm positive before treating him with a monthly preventative.
Realizing that your beloved dog has been diagnosed with heartworm infection is truly shocking; no one can deny that. However, take preventive measures sooner to keep your dog away from heartworm disease. The best thing you can do is keep your dog on a monthly heartworm preventive regimen and have regular vet check-ups.
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