Why Should I Give Preventative Heartworm Medicine To My Dog Year Round?

24 Apr Why Should I Give Preventative Heartworm Medicine To My Dog Year Round?

Heartworms are a parasitic worm that lives within the heart and blood vessels of the lungs. If they live to this stage of life, they can cause severe problems for your pet. However, there is a simple way to decrease the chance of this happening: using a preventative medication regularly.

The heartworm can infect your pet when they are bitten by a mosquito. This leads many pet owners to believe that they can skip a few of the colder months, only giving the prevention when they think there are mosquitos outside, this is not a good choice to make for your pet. When the mosquito bites, it can deposit any number of baby heartworms that can mature and lead to unwanted disease. Regular preventative, if given as recommended by your veterinarian, will kill the baby heartworms deposited by a mosquito bite. As many people can attest to it is quite difficult to avoid being bitten by mosquitos, especially in those warm humid months. However, is it still important to continue giving the preventative treatment even when we don’t think there is a risk of mosquito bites. With varying climates it can be very difficult to predict when the first mosquito is going to appear or when the last one is going to disappear.

Mosquitos are so small it is nearly impossible to know if your pet has been bitten and if that mosquito infected your pet or not. This uncertainty makes it extremely important to keep your pet on the preventative all year. If your pet happens to be infected during this time that is being skipped (while they are not protected) it provides an opportunity for the baby heartworms to mature to adults. Besides the risks of adults, starting back on the preventative while infected with adults can be very dangerous. The mosquito transmits a small number of baby heartworms so when they are killed with the medication your pet can rid them from their system without any problems. However with the presence of adults reproducing, the number of babies is much higher. When these babies are killed, the burden from the increased numbers can be too much for your pet to handle leading to negative effects and severe health issues. These are a few of the risks of not providing your pet with year round heartworm prevention and good reasons to follow the instruction of your veterinarian closely.

For more information you may follow these links:  https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/parasites/6-heartworm-prevention-mistakes-you-might-be-making
https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics