Importance of Taking Heartworm Preventatives

If you’ve ever taken your dog to the vet, you’ve no doubt heard about heartworm prevention. Most vets recommend that all dogs take a heartworm preventative to prevent being infected by these nasty little critters. That’s especially true here in Florida, where the naturally humid, warm weather is the perfect place for mosquitoes to thrive, and mosquitoes are how dogs typically contract the disease.

What Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are parasitic roundworms that live in the heart and blood vessels of dogs. These worms can grow to over a foot in length! Once infected, a dog with heartworms will experience fatigue, heart failure, respiratory failure, and other system failures.

How Does a Dog Get Heartworms?

Heartworms are transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes, who are blood-borne carriers of the disease. A simple blood test can determine if your dog has heartworms.

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Heartworms?

Heartworm preventatives are the best option for stopping a dog from contracting heartworms. These medications are usually given once monthly, although some can last longer. They must be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian and require a negative heartworm test before prescribing.

Other options include controlling the mosquito population on your property by removing anything that would be a good home for mosquitoes, such as standing water.

What if my Dog Has a Positive Heartworm Test?

If your dog has a positive heartworm test, it means they are currently infected with adult heartworms. This is a very serious situation that requires urgent veterinary care. Your vet will likely schedule you for an appointment when they call with your results. It is imperative that you keep this appointment and follow all the vet’s instructions for your pet’s care.

What if I Don’t Have my Dog’s Heartworms Treated?

If you choose to not have your dog’s heartworm infection treated, you are risking your pet ending up with heart failure, respiratory failure, organ shutdown, and death.

I Think My Dog Has Heartworms! Where Should I Go?

If you’re in the Tampa Bay area and think your dog has heartworms, contact the veterinary professionals at Pet Urgent Care in Wesley Chapel to get your dog the treatment they need. We will review your dog’s presenting symptoms, order diagnostic testing as needed, and develop a treatment plan with you and your pet’s needs in mind. Call (813) 279-6500 or contact us online to set up an appointment for your furry friend today!