It always makes me so so sad when a lovely owner brings their dog in to see me and does all the right things…
- Vaccines – check!
- Heartworm test – check!
- Fecal exam – check!
But, when we ask them how many months of heartworm and flea/tick prevention they’d like to purchase, they decline! Ughhh…I just died a little inside!
Then I ask the usual hopeful questions like, “Oh, do you have some at home?” or “Would you like a written Rx for some to be sent directly to your door?”
When they still decline, that makes me sad for that poor dog. And let me briefly tell you why…
Heartworm disease is literally what it sounds like. Nasty, disgusting WORMS in the vessels of the heart and lungs! Heartworms are spread by mosquitos. And, since we live in Texas and our winters are rarely cold enough to kill the mosquitos off (ummm, not counting the Snowpocalypse of 2021), heartworm disease is a huge problem here.
When a mosquito that’s carrying “baby heartworms” bites a dog, that baby heartworm gets injected into the dog’s skin. Over a period of a few months, that baby worm undergoes transformation into further stages of growth while it migrates through the skin and into the blood stream. Once in the blood stream, they grow to be up to a foot long! Can you imagine having a worm IN your blood vessels that’s 12 inches long?! When these worms set up shop in the vessels around the heart and lungs, they release all sorts of nasty substances and bacteria that cause major inflammation, problems with blood flow, heart problems, respiratory issues, major problems with other internal organs, and even death! They also reproduce once they’re in the blood stream causing increased numbers of worms to be present. It’s a never ending cycle for the poor dog that’s not on some sort of heartworm prevention.
But there is a silver lining…well, two silver linings really.
1. Heartworms disease is PREVENTABLE!!! The monthly prevention that we prescribe to your pooch KILLS the baby heartworms that are injected by the mosquitos so they never get a chance to mature in to adult worms.
2. Heartworm disease is TREATABLE if your dog is heartworm positive! If your dog’s clinically stable, he or she can be treated or cured of heartworm disease by a very specific and proven treatment protocol. Now, this treatment can be a little pricey depending on the weight of your dog, but it sure beats your companion dealing with the awful symptoms of heartworm disease and potentially an awful death!
What I like to tell owners that are reluctant to buy monthly heartworm prevention is this…
The monthly prevention you purchase for your dog to keep them heartworm negative is WAY more affordable than treating them once they’re heartworm positive. And because we live in the South…it’s not if, but when they become positive!
If you’d like some really helpful information on heartworm disease, how it’s prevented, and how it’s treated take a look at the American Heartworm Society’s page for pet owners!
We carry several options of heartworm, flea, and tick prevention in our hospital. But, if we don’t have what you’re looking for, let us have it shipped directly to your door through our online pharmacy!