Preventing Heartworm in Your Canine Companion

It’s Heartworm Awareness Month—what better time of year than right now to think about the danger heartworm poses to our canine friends? Here, your Michigan City, IN veterinarian tells you all about these life-threatening pests and how to keep your dog safe and sound.

Why Is It Important to Prevent Heartworms?

Heartworms are some of the most dangerous pests that threaten our dogs. It’s very difficult to treat a heartworm infestation once it’s taken hold, and many dogs don’t survive if the infestation isn’t treated early enough. Treatment is lengthy and can be expensive, and it comes with risks of its own—killing heartworms already in a dog’s bloodstream can cause side effects like fever, blood-flow obstruction, coughing, and more.

All in all, it’s much safer, easier, and cheaper to prevent a heartworm infestation ahead of time. This is the case with every potential health problem that threatens your dog!

What Do Preventatives Look Like?

Heartworm preventatives come in many forms. Some are in chewable tablet or pill form, while some are topical gels that get applied directly to your dog’s skin. There are also injectable versions that are administered at the vet’s office using a syringe. Talk to your veterinary professional to find out more about the various types of heartworm preventatives and what might work best for your dog’s needs.

Are Year-Round or Seasonal Preventatives Best?

Most often, year-round preventatives are recommended for their constant protection. Preventatives like these also ward off most other intestinal parasites (roundworms, flatworms, hookworms, etc.) so they’re great for keeping your dog safe from a variety of ailments. Depending on a dog’s particular situation, though, a seasonal heartworm preventative may be recommended in some cases. Talk with your veterinarian to find out what’s best for your four-legged friend.

How Do I Get My Dog a Preventative?

If your dog isn’t already being given a heartworm preventative, set up an appointment at the vet’s office right away. The first course of action will be to check for a heartworm infestation already affecting your dog—if heartworms are detected, a treatment regimen will be started. Once the treatment has ran its course and eradicated the heartworm infestation, your dog will be put on a preventative to keep the problem from happening again.

Want to know more about heartworms and keeping your dog protected? Contact your Michigan City, IN veterinary clinic. We’re here to help!

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