Vet Blog

Is Heartworm Prevention Necessary?

June 12, 2019

Although many owners have heard of heartworms, many are still unaware of just how important it is to ensure that their pet is adequately protected against this parasite.

Heartworms are far more serious than other types of internal worms and without prompt treatment, the infection can cause irreversible damage to your pet's organs and body functions and can even prove fatal for your pet.

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month and to help improve the knowledge of owners everywhere, here is what our vets in Montgomery, AL need you to know about why heartworm prevention is necessary.

Reasons Why Heartworm Prevention Is Necessary

There are a variety of different reasons why you should make heartworm prevention a priority for your pet.

Prevent Unnecessary Pain and Suffering

As a loving owner, you will be dedicated to ensuring that your pet lives a life that is as long, and healthy as possible. Heartworm disease can cause painful and debilitating symptoms and by preventing your pet from contracting it, you can also stop her from any unnecessary suffering.

Protect Her Long-Term Health and Wellbeing

Heartworms live in your pet's heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. As their numbers grow, the flow of blood to and from these organs is compromised, causing them to become damaged and severe lung disease and heart problems can occur. Eventually, her other organs will also become damaged. Although it is possible to treat heartworms, the damage that they cause starts to begin before they even mature into adulthood. By preventing heartworms, you can avoid your pet suffering any long-term consequences from their presence. This means a healthier, longer life for your pet.

Identifying Heartworms Isn't Always Easy

The sooner heartworms are diagnosed, the quicker treatment can begin and the better the outcome for your pet. However, actually identifying heartworms can be trickier than you might expect. Animals are pre-disposed to masking vulnerabilities such as illness, and the early symptoms are easily overlooked. Factor in the fact that it can take six months or more for any signs to manifest and for blood tests to show the presence of heartworm infection, it is easy to see why many animals diagnosed with the condition are found to have considerable damage caused by the parasite by the time they are diagnosed.

Animals Living in Any Part of the Country Can Be Affected

One of the biggest misconceptions about heartworms is that only animals living in the south are at risk. People think this because heartworms are spread by mosquitos, which are more prevalent in the southern states. However, mosquitos are becoming more capable of remaining active in colder temperatures and there is evidence of heartworms being contracted in all states. As such, prevention is recommended for all dogs, cats, and ferrets irrespective of their location. Similarly, year-round protection is also advised as heartworms present a risk in all temperatures.

Heartworm Prevention Is less Expensive than Treating the Condition

Although cost shouldn't dictate the care that we provide to our pets, the fact of the matter is that finances do matter, and many owners are concerned about the expense of veterinary bills. Some people very mistakenly believe that preventatives are an unnecessary expense. However, this is far from true. Not only can getting your pet protected help her avoid the effects of heartworms, but preventatives are far less expensive than treatment would be. Treatment usually takes place over multiple appointments and can involve at least one stay at our animal hospital in Montgomery, AL.

There are lots of different preventative products to choose from, some of which protect against other parasites in addition to heartworms. Our veterinary team will be happy to help you decide which is going to be the most suitable preventative for your pet.

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