Many dog owners wonder whether heartworm medicine is good for their dogs. According to many veterinarians, conventional preventatives are the safest and most effective way to protect your dog. When it comes to keeping your four-legged friend healthy and happy, you should consider the benefits of limited vaccinations and a healthy diet.
The Myths and Facts of Heartworms in Dogs
Therefore, is heartworm medicine bad for dogs? Many dog owners often ask themselves this question. They wonder whether they should stop giving heartworm medicine to their dogs and replace it with natural options. To answer this question, you need to separate the facts from fiction about the subject.
Canine heartworms are easy to prevent; however, treatment is expensive and difficult. Dogs get heartworms through bites from infected mosquitoes. This is the only way they can get heartworms. Unfortunately, it is impossible to identify an infected mosquito by sight. This is why it is important to prevent heartworms in your dog. Prevention, as the saying goes, is always better than cure.
A bite from just one infected mosquito will leave the heartworm larvae in your dog, which will give him/her heartworm disease. This is the reason this disease spreads throughout the United States. Once an infected mosquito bites your dog, it will take approximately seven months for the larvae to mature into adulthood.
The heartworms will then lodge themselves in the lungs, heart, and surrounding blood vessels, where they will begin to reproduce. They can live up to seven years and grow to a length of up to one foot. One dog can have as many as 250 heartworms in its body.
However, humans cannot get heartworms from their canine companions. This parasite is specific to ferrets, cats, dogs, and other mammals. In cases where the parasite infects a human being, it will not complete its full life cycle. Similarly, a dog infected with heartworms cannot pass the infection to another dog. Infection is only possible through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Is Heartworm Prevention Essential?
Dirofilariasis also called heartworm disease is a dangerous and potentially fatal disease. Heartworm prevention, however, is something you can get from your vet every year. Prevention can be in the form of a topical liquid you can apply to your dog’s skin or in tablet form. To determine whether your canine companion has heartworms, your vet will perform a blood test.
If no heartworm is present, your vet will prescribe the preventative. It will kill any heartworm larvae present in your dog’s system. Preventatives protect your dog from a major heartworm infestation. Advanced or major infestations can have serious or even severe side effects in dogs, such as lethargy, chronic cough, and reduced oxygen and blood supply.
Some dog owners, especially those living in areas with lower cases of mosquito bites, consider heartworm medicine unnecessary. They prefer to take their dogs to the vet for their annual health examinations instead. Others prefer using holistic heartworm prevention methods. These include pet-friendly bug repellant, natural lawn care, and using different mosquito prevention techniques.
If you live in Madison City and are wondering whether to give your canine companion heartworm medicine, speak to the experts at Madison Animal Care Hospital. To book an appointment, call us now at 256-461-7575. You can also visit our offices in St. Madison, Alabama. For more than two decades, we have been providing our pet patients with the highest-quality, full-service health care.