Do you know how heartworm preventative works? Your vet has told you how important it is to follow a regular heartworm preventative schedule, especially if you have dogs. Here’s why heartworm preventative so important, and some tips on choosing the right heartworm preventative for your pets.
Heartworm preventative is a daily or monthly treatment prescribed by veterinarians that kills the heartworm, or Dirofilaria immitis. The heartworm is an actual parasitic worm that is transmitted by mosquito. Heartworms develop and invade your pet through the bloodstream. Once mature, heartworms choke the heart and other organs, causing death if left untreated. Heartworm preventative is used to kill the heartworm larvae and ensure that your pet does not become infected with heartworm disease.
Some cats are able to spontaneously fight off heartworm disease, but not all of them are so lucky and dogs are unable to fight heartworm disease without treatment. Using a heartworm preventative is vital to keeping pets healthy and alive. Heartworm disease is 100% preventable by regularly using preventatives such as Heartgard, Revolution, Interceptor, or Sentinel.
Most veterinarians recommend giving heartworm preventative year round, but some vets may recommend seasonal treatments depending on what region you live in. Heartworm preventative is sold by prescription only so most people buy whichever brand their vet carries. However, there are several different brands of heartworm preventative available.
Heartworm preventative usually includes a wormer that kills other types of worms like hookworm. The most commonly used heartworm preventative is Heartguard Plus. It’s a meat-flavored chew that can be given like a treat and it is usually used in conjunction with a flea preventative like Advantage.
Some heartworm preventatives like Sentinel will also help control fleas by preventing flea eggs from hatching. Some people prefer to give the two medications separately, though, sometimes staggering them. For example, heartworm preventative on the first of the month and flea preventative on the 15th.
Deciding which heartworm preventative to use on your pet is a personal decision and will largely depend on whether you use a seperate flea treatment, whether you need tick protection from diseases like Lyme Disease in your area, and the climate of your region. Talking to other pet owners and asking your vet for advice can give you an idea of which heartworm preventative is most effective in your area.
Heartworm preventative can also be purchased online from many online pet medication websites. Beware websites that offer to send you medication without getting your vet’s prescription, though. Also look out for the bargain-basement priced heartworm preventative. Manufacturers will only guarantee a heartworm preventative will be effective if sold by prescription. Just like with human prescription medications, make sure you’re getting the prescribed, genuine heartworm preventative if you order from a discount website.
When in doubt, it’s best to buy heartworm preventative from your vet. You don’t need to make an appointment with your pet to buy, most vets will sell heartworm preventative without an appointment once they’ve done an initial checkup and heartworm test.
Administering a heartworm preventative to your pet every month is one of the most important things you can do to keep your pet healthy. Because pets cannot develop immunity to heartworm, any time they are exposed to mosquitos there is a chance they can be infected with heartworm disease. Although treatment is available and usually successful if caught early, heartworm treatment is very expensive and there may be serious complications.
It is far easier and better for your pet to prevent heartworm disease before it happens. The best prevention is providing your pet with a regular heartworm preventative treatment that works for them.