Do I Really Need to Protect My Dog?
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites a dog with heartworm, it becomes infected. Your dog becomes infected when an infected mosquito bites it. As Sydney has a humid climate with plenty of mosquitoes, there are lots of infected dogs. So, yes, it is very important that your dog is protected against heartworm disease.
What Happens In Heartworm Disease?
Once the mosquito has bitten, the tiny parasite larvae migrate under the skin of your dog and undergo a maturation process, eventually ending up in the heart, hence the name heartworm. Most dogs with heartworm disease do not show any clinical signs. However, the damage caused by the presence of the worms within the heart, if left untreated, results in severe disease and heart failure. It is therefore important to prevent your dog from contracting heartworm disease to make sure they stay happy and healthy!
How Do I Prevent My Dog From Contracting Heartworm Disease?
There are many medications that you can give to prevent heartworm. These include monthly treatments (Interceptor, Sentinel Spectrum, Revolution or Heartguard) and an annual heartworm injection (Proheart SR12). You can start giving your dog heartworm prevention from 6weeks old. To determine which medication would best suit your dog, please speak to one of our vets.
What Do I Do If I Have Forgotten To Give My Dog Their Heartworm
Monthly treatments to protect against heartworm need to be given regularly to be effective. If you have missed a month or more of medications, or your dog has never been placed on heartworm prevention, we would advise a simple blood test to see if your dog has contracted heartworm disease in the time they have not been protected. This test needs to be repeated 6months after the initial test as it can take 6months for the worms to develop to the stage where we can detect them. The heartworm injection needs to be given annually with 7days lee-way. If your dog was given the heartworm injection at GVH, we will send you a reminder letter when the injection is due.
What About Cats?
It is possible for cats to develop heartworm disease, however it is much less common than in dogs. Unfortunately, there is no annual injection available for use in cats, but there are monthly medications that can be used to prevent heartworm infection.
If you have any questions about heartworm disease and its prevention, please do not hesitate to call us.