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5 Surprising Facts Every Pet Parent Needs to Know about Heartworm Disease

Heartworm Disease is a potentially fatal illness caused by the heartworm parasite - a worm that lives in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of its victims. This parasite is spread through mosquitos and its present in all 50 states of the US. The good news? This serious disease is easily preventable with monthly parasite prevention medication!

Continue reading to learn surprising, key information about Heartworm Disease and the preventative medication that will keep your dogs and cats safe from it!

Five Surprising Heartworm Disease Facts Every Pet Parent Should Know

Fact #1: There is no season for Heartworm Disease - it's not just a summer issue!

Heartworm Disease is spread by mosquitos which many mistakenly consider to be a summer-only issue, but according to the American Heartworm Society there is no longer a mosquito season - the risk of Heartworm Disease transmission never reaches zero, even in winter months. Global increases in temperature combined with the increased resiliency of the mosquito lend themselves to a year-round mosquito concern. It's vital that your pet receive heartworm prevention year round.

Fact #2: After a bite from an infected mosquito, it can take up to 6 months for heartworms to grow big enough to become detectable on a Heartworm Disease blood test!

The six month incubation period at the start of Heartworm Disease creates a delay in detection that reinforces the importance of testing for Heartworm Disease on a regular basis, to catch any previous exposure as soon as possible. The recommended frequency for heartworm testing in dogs is every 12 months, starting at seven months of age. Unfortunately there is currently no routine test recommended for felines.

Fact #3: 1 in 4 heartworm positive cats are indoor-only!

Many people believe that because Heartworm Disease is spread by mosquitos, pets who live only indoors are safe from the disease. This is unfortunately inaccurate - all cats and dogs are susceptible to contracting Heartworm Disease, regardless of their exposure to the outdoors. According to the American Heartworm Society, one in every four cats diagnosed with Heartworm Disease are indoor only cats - that's 25%!

Fact #4: Treatment for Heartworm Disease in dogs takes over 150 days!

That's FIVE months! And during this time period your dog is required to be on strict exercise restriction to reduce the likelihood of complication throughout the course of treatment. The treatment protocol is complex and involves multiple rounds of medications administered at specific intervals, some of which are injections that are required to be administered during a hospital stay under veterinary observation. Save you and your dog the heartache of enduring the stress of heartworm treatment - protect them with heartworm prevention. Note: there is currently no approved treatment for Heartworm Disease in cats - prevention is the best treatment for our feline friends.

For more information on the exercise restriction required during heartworm treatment, visit the American Heartworm Society

Fact #5: You can protect your pet from Heartworm Disease for less than $15 per month!

There are several variations of heartworm prevention medications available, and some cost less than $15 per month. That's about the same cost as your favorite treat from your local coffee shop! Heartworm treatment on the other hand can cost hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. You do the math!

Common heartworm prevention medications include: Heartgard+, Revolution Plus, ProHeart, Tri-Heart+, Interceptor+, Simparica Trio and Sentinel.

If you are an existing client of Epping Road Veterinary Hospital, visit our online pharmacy to order more of your pet's heartworm prevention!

Heartworm Resource Center


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