Heartworms: Easy to Prevent, Expensive to Treat

 

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States (all 50 States) and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.

 

How is Heartworm disease treated? What is the cost?

Once your veterinarian has determined your dog is stable and ready for heartworm treatment, he or she will recommend a treatment protocol involving several steps. The treatment regimen for heartworm is both expensive and complex involving but not limited to multiple visits to the veterinarian, x-rays, blood work, injections to kill the adult heartworms, hospitalization and keeping your pet calm during the entire treatment process. Treatment is hard on your pup and can take 3-6 months to efficiently rid him/her of the heartworms. Cost of treating heartworm disease ranges from $800.00- $3,000.00. The cost is determined by the progression of the disease and individual veterinarians.

 

How do dogs get Heartworms? Is my pet at risk?

Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.  Infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk.

For that reason, the American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.

 

How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms?

For less than the cost of your monthly Netflix, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills and a monthly topical that you put on the skin. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $45 to $100, depending on a dog’s weight.