Studies reveal that about 85% of all unprotected pooches tend to get heartworm infection while the remaining 15% have a natural immunity to the condition. Almost everyone is familiar with heartworm and is aware of the disease’s serious and even lethal effects. But for one reason or another, many don’t provide their dogs with the needed preventive measures against heartworms. As a matter of fact, The American Heartworm Society has recorded that an estimate of just 55% of all dogs in the US are presently on a heartworm preventative; leaving about 27 million others at risk of acquiring the disease.
It’s Not a Matter of If but WHEN
Heartworm refers to a long, thread-like parasite that is generally spread through mosquito bites. It is prevalent in dogs (and even in cats), and lives in the host’s lung arteries and in the right side of its heart. Heartworm, which can be easily transmitted and contracted, is very dangerous and should never be taken lightly. It is common in all 50 US states, and on all continents except Antarctica. Once heartworm has plagued its host, the parasite multiples and grows rapidly. Heartworm treatment often involves weeks of discomfort, and dogs left untreated eventually die.
Prevention of heartworm is very important in keeping your dog safe, especially if he tends to spent lots of his time outdoors. As a responsible pet owner, it should be your routine every year to have Fido tested for heartworm as you bring him to the vet for his annual check-up.
Most pet parents consider the side effects of taking heartworm prevention medication when opting to not protect their pets. However, keep in mind that without proper treatment, your beloved pooch can die from infestation. Some of the common side effects of heartworm preventative include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, convulsions, a weaker immune system, and a strain on Fido’s liver and the kidneys. With an inferior immune system, your pet can become more susceptible to various infections and other diseases like arthritis, skin allergies, and even some kinds of cancer.
Consult your veterinarian regarding the various heartworm medications available as well as their specific side effects. Your options include chewable tablets, pills, and topical ointments.
Take note that there are some ways of treating your pooch naturally as well. The alternative approach normally has no ill side effects and can be used solely or in conjunction with the abovementioned preventative medications. Natural medicines; however, should still be used under your vet’s approval and supervision.
If your veterinarian recommends the use of a certain preventative medicine, never overdose your pooch. It is crucial that you keep track of when Fido has been given the medication so you can avoid repeating the dosage earlier than it is supposed to be. Also, ensure that your dog is being tested on a yearly basis, and always follow your vet’s instructions in defending against heartworm with its side effects kept to a minimum as much as possible.