The answer is absolutely yes. Heartworm disease is a very serious condition and if left undetected or untreated, can result in death for any dog and even cats. Heartworm prevention (tablet, chewable or injectable form) can be easily administered to prevent this disease.
Heartworms are spread via mosquitos and as many of you know here in the Illinois River Valley, we have plenty of these around. Any time a dog goes outside (even just for a short potty break) they are potentially exposed to heartworm-carrying mosquitos.Even animals that are always inside are never 100% protected if a mosquito gets in the house. It only takes one bite. When an infected mosquito bites a dog the juvenile forms of the worm enter the bloodstream where they grow and circulate. Eventually they reach the heart and pulmonary arteries and settle to mature to adulthood. These worms can grow up to 12 inches in length and overtime cause severe damage to the heart and arteries. This damage leads to progressive heart failure, lung disease and eventual death if left undiagnosed and untreated.
If a dog contracts heartworms and they reach adulthood, the only treatment involves a series of injections, oral medications, hospitalization and months of observation. The injections are very expensive and carry a high risk of fatal complications themselves.
To avoid life-threatening and costly heartworm infections, owners can administer heartworm prevention at home on a monthly basis or come into the clinic every 6 months to receive heartworm prevention injections. The preventatives on the market today eliminate the circulating adolescent stages of the worms, before they can mature and reach the heart. They are a very safe and convenient way to prevent the risks and disease associated with these parasites. Many heartworm preventatives also have other medications paired with them to control other parasites, like fleas and intestinal worms.
Keep your dog happy, healthy, and heartworm free with prevention! Call the clinic today to learn more about heartworm disease and prevention or to find the medication right for your dog. Our staff are always happy to answer questions!