of the Bite: Preventing Heartworm in Dogs
you have a dog, then you have probably heard about the dangers
of heartworm disease, but did you know that the one and only
way your dog can get heartworms is through a mosquito bite?
Just a single bite from a mosquito infected with heartworm
larvae is enough to transfer heartworm disease to your canine
friend. Heartworm in dogs is serious and potentially fatal.
It is a disease that not only affects dogs but other mammals
as well, and can be really difficult to treat once your pet
is infected. Therefore, it is much easier to learn how to
protect your dog from heartworms than to have to deal with
it once your pooch has become infected.
So what is the best method of preventing heartworm
in dogs? Well, we can begin by knowing what not to
do. Do not try protecting your canine from mosquito bites
in the same way you protect humans from mosquito bites. If
you live in a mosquito-infested area, then you know how difficult
it can be to keep these pesky bugs away. The measures we use
to prevent mosquitoes from biting us (i.e. repellent sprays
and citronella candles) are not effective methods of preventing
heartworm in dogs. Despite your best efforts to keep mosquitoes
away from your canine, there is really no way to guarantee
that it will not get bitten.
Utilizing a more aggressive form of protection against
heartworm disease is a must. There are various preventative
treatments for heartworm in dogs that include pills, ointments,
and injections; most of them commonly contain the active ingredient
ivermectin. The recommended dosage usually depends on the
dog’s size. Pills and ointments are administered on
a monthly basis while the shots provide protection for a period
of six months. Generally speaking, preventative treatments
cost anywhere from $35 to $85 annually.
Preventing heartworm in dogs can present a task.
Some dog owners believe that it is okay to skip their canine’s
preventative treatments during the winter when mosquitoes
are not around, but that is not recommended. Although it may
appear logical, going for a period of months without administering
the medication is a well-known recipe for forgetting the medicine
when mosquito season does roll around. That is simply not
a chance you can afford to take, so it is best to keep giving
your dog the medication all year round.
Although you will have to put some time, effort, and a little
money into preventing heartworm in your dog, this sacrifice
is minimal compared to the cost and emotional effects of having
to treat a dog that has been infected. As a responsible dog
owner, make it your duty to protect your canine companion
from heartworms. Talk to your veterinarian about the specific
options available for you and your dog, and once you begin
administering the preventative treatment, keep it up. As you
get used to doling out your dog’s regular medicine,
it will become part of your routine, and trust me—your
dog will thank you for it.