Heartworm Prevention for Dogs

April is Heartworm Awareness Month! What better time to remind ourselves of the importance of heartworm prevention for our canine companions? Read on below as your Carolina Forest, SC veterinarian tells you all about heartworm prevention for dogs.

Why Prevent Heartworms?

Preventing a heartworm infestation is far easier, cheaper, and safer than treating one. It’s difficult to treat a heartworm infestation after the fact, and many dogs don’t survive if the problem isn’t caught early enough. Treatment can prove expensive and time-consuming, and it’s risky—killing off heartworms already present in the bloodstream can have side effects like obstruction of blood flow, fever, serious coughing, and other troubles. Preventing the problem in the first place is a much safer course of action!

Should I Use Year-Round or Seasonal Preventatives?

Veterinarians most often recommend year-round heartworm prevention to be safe. Year-round heartworm medication can also protect against a variety of intestinal parasites in addition to heartworms themselves, so it’s a good investment. Occasionally, a seasonal heartworm preventative may be recommended—usually in areas where heartworms are only a seasonal problem—but it’s best to speak with your veterinarian one-on-one to decide what’s best for your dog.

What Are Preventatives Like?

Heartworm preventatives may come in topical or gel form, which get applied directly to your dog’s skin once a month. Others come in chewable pill or tablet form, while other heartworm medications are injectable and get administered at the vet’s office using a syringe. To learn more about the various types of heartworm preventatives and to find out what might work best for your canine companion, contact your vet’s office.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re unsure whether or not your dog has been checked for heartworms, or if he or she needs heartworm preventatives to stay healthy, set up an appointment with your veterinarian. First, your vet will check your dog for heartworms already present. If they are found, a treatment regimen will be started. (Giving a preventative to a dog who already has heartworms can prove deadly!) Otherwise, a heartworm preventative will be prescribed, and your dog can start enjoying the protection that these essential medications provide.

Do you have further questions about heartworms or other parasites that can harm your dog? We’re here to help with all of your pet-care needs. Schedule an appointment today to have your dog examined at your Carolina Forest, SC animal hospital.

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