Heartworm is a serious condition affecting dogs. Heartworm disease can cause congestive heart failure as well as liver problems in an infested dog. Treating your dog with heartworm depends on several factors such as the degree of severity, the age of your dog, the location of the condition and your dog’s overall health. The best treatment for heartworm is to prevent it in the first place. Besides the usual monthly medications available to prevent the onset of heartworm in dogs, there are newer six-month preventions available.
When mosquitoes are prevalent, it is important to protect your pet from heartworm disease. If your dog is infested with a case of heartworm, be sure to note the signs and symptoms such as difficulty breathing, heavy panting, deep coughing and weight loss. Early stages may show no symptoms at all. Most often symptoms show at a point when the dog is heavily infested with adult worms and larvae as well. Although all pets (dogs and cats alike) should be protected, those that spend a great deal of time outdoors especially need to be safeguarded. Prevention is much easier than treatment of the disease in its accelerated state. Cats cannot be treated once infested so it is imperative to prevent the heartworm in the first place. Speak to your veterinarian regarding preventative measures for your cat. Most common preventative medications are taken once monthly in the form of oral pills, chewable tablets or a topical ointment. This is such an easy option for the protection of your pet. The newest form of prevention for dogs is the six-month injectable.
The most common name, ProHeart-6 or moxidectin, is a new injectable heartworm preventative which is administered to your dog over 6 months of age once every 6 months. This is an easy and more convenient option over the once a month oral plan. The 6-month heartworm injectable preventative was first approved in 2001. Only your veterinarian can administer the injection following a complete medical examination, blood test and informational session. Heartworm medications should not be administered to your pet without a preliminary blood test. The test is to be sure your dog is heartworm free first before preventative measures can be taken.
Just a simple warning about giving your dog a heartworm preventative – Along with benefits of the six-month heartworm prevention, there are some possible adverse side effects such as lethargy, weakness, facial swelling, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, a rash and sometimes seizures or death. Some dog breeds, especially herding breeds, should not take this medication. Become fully educated through your veterinarian regarding the pros and cons of using the six-month heartworm prevention.