Heartworm Prevention For Dogs


About 60% of dogs are protected from mosquito transmitted heartworm disease which means the other 40% is susceptible to heartworm. And this is unacceptable to Dr. Thomas Nelson, president of the American Heartworm Society.

Dr. Nelson states that this deadly disease can be avoided when dogs take a monthly heartworm preventative and says that this medicine is a very safe class of drug with no adverse reactions. The medicine ends up costing about 10-25 cents a day and Dr. Nelson says that your dog is worth that extra expense.

Heartworm medication also prevents against other internal parasites such as roundworm and hookworm, and some even prevent against fleas and ticks.

More about heartworm disease in dogs after the jump.

From Steve Dale’s Pet World:

“Instead of worrying about worming dogs, we’re now advocating prevention in the first place,” Nelson says.

While expensive to treat, heartworm disease is considered treatable. However, that treatment is arsenic. No surprise, this is one of those cases that while treatment is necessary, the treatment can be nearly as problematic as the disease.

Only a few years ago, researchers learned that a bacterium called wolbachia is always present with heartworm, and, in fact likely necessary for the heartworm to exist. John McCall, professor emeritus at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens combined Ivermectin (used to prevent heartworm) with an antibiotic (to deal with the bacterial wolbachia) and documented a nearly an 80 per cent kill rate. Add when some of the traditional arsenical medication was added into the mix, the kill rate hits approached 100 per cent. What’s more there’s little damage to the lungs, which is a part of the adverse impact of the arsenical medication when used alone.

“We’re nowhere ready to recommend this treatment yet,” says McCall. “But this is very promising for the treatment of heartworm disease.”

One Response to “Heartworm Prevention For Dogs”

  1. Carolyn says:

    Maggie had heartworm when we adopted her, here in Belize. We gave monthly doses of vet-prescribed ivermectin and eventually all the heartworms were gone. She wasn’t a “bad” case so the slow-kill method using ivermectin was very successful and we did not have to go the arsenic route. Heartworm infection is a year round problem here in the tropics so she still gets ivermectin monthly — it is not expensive, a 6 mos. supply ends up costing $9. While I’d prefer not to have to give a medicine monthly, in this climate it is well worth it. So many dogs die here due to heartworm infestation.

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