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May 03 2013

Heartworm Disease- We need to get Serious!

May 3, 2013

 Heartworm Disease-We need to get Serious!

  It was been a troublesome week at River’s Edge Vet Hospital because I’ve had to describe the Heartworm Treatment Protocol to far too many clients. In other words, I’ve diagnosed heartworms in 3 dogs this week. Heartworm disease is a terrible and preventable disease. My staff and I spend a lot of time describing heartworm disease and recommending prevention with owners because it is such a serious disease, yet there are frequently lapses in prevention that puts dogs and cats at risk.

  Adult heartworms are about 12 inches long and live in the heart and pulmonary vessels coming out of the heart. Their presence damages the arterial walls, lungs and heart. But killing them also causes damage which is why it is so important to prevent them in the first place. The treatment protocol we use is the one recommended by the American Heartworm Society and is very successful. But it is very costly, both to your wallet ($450-$900) and to your dog. As the worms die they are pushed further into the lungs and during this time it is crucial that your dog have restricted exercise, which means short leash walking only, no running, jumping or any strenuous exercise. If you choose to treat your dog with Immiticide as the American Heartworm Society and I recommend, this confinement last for about 8-10 weeks. But if you choose the “slow kill” method, which is not recommended but a better option than doing nothing, the confinement should last for 9 -30 months according to Dr. Wallace Graham, president of the American Heartworm Society! That’s a long time!!

 The point of my story is this, isn’t easier and way less expensive to keep your dog on monthly heartworm prevention year round? The answer is easily yes. Come in today, have your dog tested and ask us about heartworm prevention. It could save your dog’s life!

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