Heartworm Disease on the Rise

Every year, veterinarians brace for the disease that has seriously affected our pets for many years. Yet this affliction is easily preventable with inexpensive and safe prescription drugs. Cases of Heartworms both in dogs and cats persist to rise and also the cost for treatment of (if recognized early enough) is far greater that the cost to prevent. Consequently, how will you defend your furry friend from the dangerous effects of this now widespread parasite?

Flash back to 150 years ago when a scientist initially identified the heartworm parasite in a dog. Then the parasite evolved and was then discovered in our cats 80 years ago. With heartworm prevention available for both cats and dogs you would believe that we would see a reduction in the number of cases, yet each and every year hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats are diagnosed and all too often die too soon from this dreaded parasite. Some researchers speculate that in North America alone, cases of heartworms in our pets may actually be in the millions.

The disease brought on by this heartworm dwelling within your pet’s heart is disastrous. Your furry friend could be infected with the solitary bite of only one mosquito. The worm will then migrate through your pet’s entire body finally taking up residence in your pet’s heart chamber and the blood vessels leading to the lungs. This results in your pet’s heart needing to pump harder to circulate the blood through his tiny body. The effects on the lungs is much more serious with some pets gasping for breath because the lungs fill with fluid and tiny blood clots clog the vessels. Early warning signs can consist of coughing and exercise intolerance that some owners just attribute to the dog getting lazy. Commonly, symptoms usually do not appear until the disease is well advanced and the dog is struggling with heart failure, fluid accumulation in the lungs and belly which can subsequently result in death.

In cats, it takes only one heartworm to trigger harm. The early symptoms are asthma like symptoms and in some cases vomiting that the owners may attribute to hairballs. If that heartworm lodges in the lungs, it can result in a sudden death of the cat.

Treatment for heartworms is expensive starting from $500 for the smaller dogs, to well over $1500 for the larger breeds. Complicated heartworm disease with cardiac failure is even more expensive and in many cases there is only a 10% chance of recovery in the severely afflicted pets. As of yet, there is no treatment for cat heartworm disease, just supportive care.

Incredibly, veterinarians do have a solution for this problem. Safe, effective heartworm preventatives are available in many different easy to use applications. What is even more amazing is that the expense of a lifetime of prevention for most pets is significantly less that a single treatment for the disease. And so, why do pets continue to suffer and die from such a preventable malady?

With all internet misguided beliefs, two radical hypotheses think . that either the heartworm medications are failing or that the parasites are developing a resistance to the medications. While conspiracy theorists love these types of ideas, medical proof for either hypothesis is absent. Heartworm preventives have a failure rate of less than 1 in 1 million doses. Moreover, the complex life cycle of the heartworm does not lend itself to developing a natural resistance to the medications. The truth more than likely lies in the remembrance of the owner to give the dose in a monthly fashion and the climate.

Rising temperatures in our climate has led to an extended mosquito season and a bigger risk of transmission to our pets. Here in Houston, our mosquito season is all year round. Some locations are currently seeing a lot more mosquitoes in formerly mosquito-free areas. Irrigation of dry areas and increased plantings of trees in certain locations can actually expand mosquito population. With a bigger number of mosquitoes, there is a greater risk of transmission of heartworm disease.

Once all the facts are analyzed, the simplest cause of our failure to control this deadly parasite falls on the humans themselves. We simply do not give the preventive as we need to. It could be attributable to forgetfulness, or possibly one partner believed the other one gave it or perhaps it might be because of the overall economy plus the financial difficulties imposed on the household. Regardless of the explanation could possibly be, it can cause serious implications for the sake of our pets.

Thankfully, as pet owners, you do have powerful allies to help you combat the war against heartworms. Through the help of your veterinarian, you are able to select the best heartworm medication for your pet and your spending budget. Oral prescription drugs, for example Heartgard, Sentinel, and Iverhart are available. In addition there are topical medications such as Advantage-Multi and Revolution that are formulated to also provide protection to your pet from both heartworms and fleas. Proheart 6 is additionally available as a long-lasting injection. The prevention of this disease rests solely on the pet’s owners to make sure the pet will get the prevention prior to the pet is actually exposed to the parasite. Which means that this prevention must begin in puppy-hood and be administered on a monthly basis, throughout the year.

Don’t spend your time attempting to find “natural” or organic ways to prevent heartworms; they quite frankly do not exist. Many people believe they can formulate ivermectin to offer to their pets, but improper dilution and storage can cause overdosing or underdosing. Adhere to advice by your veterinarian and the American Heartworm Society (www.heartwormsociety.org). Your pet is relying on you and prevention is more effective and less expensive compared to treatment.

6 Pawfect Present Birthday Biscuit Yogurt Gourmet Dog Treat

 6 Pawfect Present Birthday Biscuit Yogurt Gourmet Dog Treat

6 Pawfect Present Birthday Biscuit Yogurt Gourmet Dog Treat A little surprise for your furry friend. Made with Peanut Butter, Stone Ground Whole Wheat Flour and Covered with Delicious Yogurt!! ALL WRAPPED & READY TO GO ! Larger Quantities Available at a Discount: 12 for $16 20 for $26

Register Login

Switch to our mobile site