What is Heartworm Disease? Why is it important to keep my pet on Heartworm Prevention?
Heartworm disease is a serious disease. The foot-long worms aka heartworms live in the pet's hearts, lungs and blood vessels. Heartworms can cause lung disease, heart failure, along with damage to other organs. Heartworm Preventions play a vital role in protecting your pet from the dangers of heartworms.
How does my pet get heartworms?
All it takes is one bite from a mosquito to infect your pet. The mosquito transmits heartworms from one animal to another. Dogs, foxes, coyotes, wolves carry baby heartworms called microfilaria. When a mosquito bites an animal infected with baby worms, it picks them up where the baby worms develop into the "infective" stage. When the mosquito bites a dog, cat or certain wildlife, the "infecetive" larvae will enter through the mosquito's bite wound. It can take about 6 months for the larvae to develop in full grown heartworms. Full grown heartworms can live for up to 7 years in dogs and up to 3 years in cats.
How great is the risk that my pet will become infected?
In 2016, The American Heartworm Society conducted a study with veterinarians from all over the country. They asked how many heartworm positive cases the veterinarians had seen in the past year. Veterinarians in all 50 states reported that they had seen at least ONE positive heartworm pet. The southeast, including Atlanta, had higher numbers of heartworm positive cases ranging between 26 to 100 cases per clinic than the rest of the country.
For more information about or to view the study, visit
My pet is heartworm positive, now what?
Dogs and cats are treated differently for heartworms. Cats are not the preferred host for heartworms and diagnosis can be difficult. A secondary test is performed for dogs to confirm diagnosis of heartworms. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed and depending on the severity of the disease, a treatment plan can be created. Since there is no medication approved for the treatment of heartworm disease in cats, monitoring and supportive care is the general treatment plan for cats. Dogs, on the other hand, are treated with medications for heartworm disease. Treatment for heartworm disease can take months and be expensive.
What is the best way to keep my pet from getting heartworms?
The best way to prevent your pet from getting heartworms is to place them on a heartworm prevention year round. All pets including indoor only cats and dogs need to be on heartworm prevention. Mosquitos don't stop at the door and will enter your house. Your pet will need a annual exam and/or a heartworm test in order to be on heartworm prevention. Heartworm prevention is not an over the counter medication and does require a prescription from a veterinarian.
For more more information about heartworm disease visit the American Heartworm Society website.
Current clients who need to order heartworm prevention, can now order through our online pharmacy