The Cost of Not Using Heartworm Prevention Medication

Is your dog protected against heartworm infestation? This parasite enters your dog’s bloodstream from the bite of an infected mosquito. Heartworm prevention is a practical means to kill off larvae in your dog’s system that may result in severe parasite infection.

Most vets treat dogs for the parasite using tablets or a liquid applied to the dog’s skin. Vet’s that suspect a heartworm infection use blood tests to detect the presence of the parasite in your dog. A severe heartworm infestation is lethal to most dogs. However, successful treatment relies on catching the condition before it becomes chronic.

Preventative Heartworm Medication

If your dog has a heartworm infestation, you’ll need to visit your vet for diagnosis. If the vet discovers a mild heartworm infection, they may recommend treatment using preventative medicines. You can expect the procedure to continue for three to four months after first administration of the preventative medicine.

Dogs with severe heartworm infestations tend to develop a chronic cough, lethargy, and a reduction in the oxygen supply to the blood stream. In some cases, the condition may end up fatal for your dog.

During the course of the heartworm treatment, your dog needs to remain as inactive as possible to maintain a low heart rate. Excessive activity can cause blood clots to form in your dog’s arteries that may result in the onset of a heart attack.

Why Avoid Heartworm Medication?

Not all dog owners choose to use preventative heartworm medicine on their dog. Heartworm medications can create severe side effects in some cases. These side effects occur because manufacturers of the drug use different formulas in their preventatives.

Dog owners that live in colder climates, such as Canada and the Northern states of the U.S may choose to avoid heartworm preventatives entirely. These cold environments don’t allow for many mosquitos to breed and the risk of being bitten is low.

In these cold weather circumstances, most owners feel that dosing their dog with an unproven toxic chemical is not the best choice for their pet’s health. Therefore, abstaining from the preventative measure is a prudent move. However, these owners still need to take their dog’s for a blood test once a year to ensure their pet has no sign of heartworm infection.

The top reason for most dog owners avoiding heartworm preventative measures is because heartworm takes a long time to spread to a critical stage. Therefore, these owners feel that regular testing of their dog is a better strategy to lacing their skin with potentially toxic chemicals.

Some heartworm preventatives experienced recalls from their manufacturer’s due to dangerous side effects and fatalities in dogs after administration. Due to the history of these medications, it’s easy to see why some owners would be fearful of medicating their dog.

Due to the side effects of preventative medicines, some owners choose to take the matter into their own hands and use holistic or natural means of controlling potential heartworm infections, such as pet-friendly mosquito repellant.

When Heartworm Preventative Medicines Are Worth the Risk

Coastal regions and warmer climates in the continental U.S are more prone to developing mosquito populations, especially in the summer. In such a case, it’s better to avoid the risk and use preventative measures on your dog to prevent a heartworm infestation. Owners living in these areas of the United States may need to blood test their dog at least twice a year.

Many dog owners think that a preventative strategy is better than their dog ending up with a severe heartworm infestation. In this case, the benefits outweigh the risk and owners are okay with settling for a preventative treatment strategy, along with annual blood tests.

Other Dog Health Posts