You see the sticker for the first of every month to give your furry family member their monthly heartworm preventative and may think to yourself, “it’s the middle of winter, why does she need it this month?” We’ve all thought it, but the truth is that she should be taking the medication each and every month as recommended by the American Heartworm Society.
Heartworm disease is spread by infected mosquitos and it doesn’t discriminate: it is found in all 50 states no matter the climate affecting both dogs and cats. It’s caused by foot-long worms that live in your pet’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels and pets with heartworm disease can suffer lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, it can even be deadly if not treated.
Did you know that only two in five dogs and one in ten cats are taking preventatives for heartworm? It’s a shocking statistic considering treatment for the disease can cost 10 to 15 times more than the total annual cost of preventatives. It’s important to test regularly for this disease, during the annual exam is the best time to do so since it only takes a few minutes.
How can I protect my four-legged family?
The good news is that there is a method available for all types of pets, whether you choose the once monthly chew or tablet, a topical application, or an injectable heartworm medication administered by your veterinarian.
The chewable or tablet form is the most commonly used method. The chewable option is often meat flavored and most pets view it as a tasty treat while the tablets can be easily disguised in a treat.
If your pets have certain meat allergies, or are just downright picky, a topical solution might be recommended by your vet. An advantage of the topical treatment is the fact that it also kills fleas. It is important to closely monitor your pets that like to rub against people and furniture, groom themselves and others who have it on, and those with sensitive skin as it is toxic if ingested.
The final way is an injectable form that must be administered by your vet and can last up to six months per injection. The injectable method is not available for cats at this time.
Making sure that your pets are protected is simple, and in most cases only takes a few moments once a month. If your pets are not currently taking a preventative, talk to your veterinarian about what is best for their specific needs. You can purchase the medication directly from your vet’s office, a distributor online, or your local pet store. The best part is that you can even claim the preventative medication under Wellness Rewards. It does require a prescription from your vet, though, so make sure to get a blood test scheduled first!