Gonzales Veterinary Services

505-489-0020

505-469-0615

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Canine Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is a serious disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes and, if left untreated can be fatal for your dog.  All puppies older than 6 months and dogs need to be on heartworm prevention. Even if your dog never goes outside, heartworm disease is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito and all mosquitoes can get into houses.

Heartworm is a disease transmitted by mosquitos. When an infected mosquito bites your dog, it infects your dog with heartworm larvae.  The heartworms then mature inside your dog, living in major vessels around the heart and even sometimes inside the heart itself.  It could take longer than 7 months for the heartworms to be detectable with routine testing. An adult heartworm can grow up to a foot in length, living inside your dog’s heart and lungs. It is potentially fatal to your dog.

Heartworm prevention is administered once a month either by pill or injection.  Depending on the specific product you and our veterinarian chooses for your pet, heartworm prevention medication can prevent other parasite infestations including internal parasites (worms) and external parasites (fleas and ticks).  In accordance with the guidelines of the American Heartworm Society, we recommend all dogs and cats be given year round (12 months) heartworm prevention regardless of lifestyle.

Your dog will need to be tested annually with a simple blood test for heartworm disease.  Dogs could get sick (vomiting, diarrhea, and/or death) if placed on heartworm prevention when they have heartworm disease.  Even if they have been on heartworm prevention year round there is always the possibility that the product may have failed for various reasons (your pet spit out the pill, did not absorb the pill appropriately, topical medicine was not applied properly, forgot to administer medication on time, etc.) and the earlier we can treat your pet for heartworm disease the better the prognosis.  Some companies will guarantee their product providing you use the heartworm prevention year round and are performing yearly heartworm tests.  When starting heartworm prevention it is important that you perform an initial heartworm test.

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