Did you know that pet heartworm prevention can only be prescribed by your veterinarian? While flea & tick prevention can be purchased over the counter, pet heartworm medication requires a clean bill of health to be properly effective.
How can you get your pet’s monthly treatment?
To obtain heartworm medication, an annual checkup and prescription from your vet is needed. This helps ensure that your pet is healthy prior to medication administration. Heartworm testing is a routine part of your pet’s annual vet exam. Testing is done with a simple blood test, and test results are usually given within 10 minutes. With a clean bill of health, your pet can then continue their monthly heartworm prevention for the year.
What are heartworms?
Similar to what we envision when we think of tapeworms, heartworms are a 4-12” long “spaghetti-like” parasite that directly attacks your pet’s heart, blood vessels, and lungs when left untreated. If left untreated indefinitely, heartworm disease can be fatal. Heartworm disease is said to affect about 1 in every 100 dogs in the US. Because Heartworm is transmitted by mosquito, the disease is more prevalent in the warmer Southernmost states. Because an infected animal lends more opportunity to infect more mosquitos, pet population also plays a large role in infections. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), infections are primary concentrated to “hot spots” associated with pet population and movements.
Is It Treatable?
While heartworm disease is treatable if caught in time, it’s a slow, expensive, and often difficult treatment process for both you and your pet. Thankfully, one simple monthly preventative goes a long way towards keeping your pet, and their heart, healthy! Talk to your vet about regular oral heartworm prevention, or the annual shot to ward of this potentially fatal parasite.