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Heartworms: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and as we end the month of April – which is National Heartworm Awareness Month – let’s review a few key points about keeping your pets on monthly heartworm preventative.

It’s a big deal.
Heartworm disease is an overwhelming problem in the United States today. It’s a disease spread through parasites known by the scientific name of Dirofilaria immitis, which are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Adult heartworms are approximately a foot long in length, and dogs get them by the hundreds. Untreated, it will lead to heart failure, fatal lung disease, as well as damage to other organs in the body. Treatment costs no less than a thousand dollars, and is very dangerous and not always successful. By just keeping your pet on heartworm preventatives each month, your pet will be perfectly protected.

There is always risk, so keeping your pet on a monthly preventative ensures they won’t have to suffer through the painful disease.
Especially in the South, where in winter the temperature may stay warm, it is always imperative to keep your pet on the monthly preventative. You do not want to leave any opportunity for your pet to contract the devastating disease.

Sticking to a strict monthly schedule is key. Heartworm preventatives work by eliminating any larval worms that have been contracted before they become adult worms. For this reason, it’s considered unwise to take your pet off of the preventatives for cooler months – larval worms become adults within just two months.

There is an affordable option for every budget.
Many people grumble about the cost of heartworm preventative each month, and use it as an excuse not to protect their pet. But it is much cheaper, and safer, to have your pet on a monthly preventative rather than have them contract the disease and suffer needlessly while an owner struggles to cover the very expensive treatment bill.

There is an option for any and all budgets. Depending on your pet’s needs, you can get a preventative that also covers fleas, or fleas and intestinal parasites, or you can just simply get the standard heartworm preventative and use topical flea and tick treatment as necessary.

As a responsible owner, it’s your job to protect your pet. Don’t subject them to heartworm disease because you fear it won’t fit into your budget; that is part of what you took on as a pet owner.

Most prevents protect against intestinal parasites, as well!
The ingredients in heartworm preventatives can protect your pet from other grisly things, such as intestinal parasites invading the body, and sometimes even fleas and ticks. It is just an added bonus of keeping your pet on monthly preventative.

Your pet should be tested every twelve months, even if you’ve been keeping them on a strict schedule.
Hopefully, you are already taking your pet to the veterinarian for a yearly checkup. At this time, it is important that your pet receives a yearly heartworm test – even if you’ve been keeping them on a strict schedule every month to get their heartworm preventatives. Why?

First: Consider if you missed a dose, or were a couple of days late. Time is key with heartworm prevention, as already stated above. Time given to the larvae to grow into adults means your pet has a chance to contract heartworm disease.

Second: Some pets are smarter than they seem. Without you knowing, they could have eaten around the pill, or possibly even have vomited it out.

Third: A pet that is heartworm positive will be in much pain from receiving heartworm prevention. Therefore, receiving the test puts you and your veterinarian at ease that your pet is not suffering.

Heartworm disease is a serious matter. Don't let your pet become one of the hundreds of thousands with this fatal condition that is 100% preventable.

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