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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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The Importance of Heartworm Preventatives

If your pet is not on a monthly heartworm preventative, the risks of contracting this potentially fatal disease are significantly increased. It takes only one heartworm-carrying mosquito to infect your pet. Worst of all, adult heartworms can survive in dogs for up to seven years, and in cats they may survive from a few months up to several years.

Help reduce your pet's risk for contracting heartworm disease by following these simple steps:

Have your pet tested annually

Despite monthly prevention, there are reported instances where pets are infected with heartworms. As a result, consistent testing by your veterinarian is one of the best ways to ensure your pet remains heartworm free. For pets that contract heartworm disease, conventional treatment usually requires ongoing, expensive visits to the veterinarian office for x-rays, blood work, and injections.

Although there are heartworm treatments available for dogs, there can be serious risks involved depending on your dog's health at the time of diagnosis. For dogs with severe heartworm disease, treatment may be too harsh on the respiratory system, in that case your veterinarian will determine the best treatment plan for your pet.

Although it's estimated that 95% of dogs diagnosed with heartworms are treated successfully, there is currently no effective and safe medical treatment for cats infected with heartworm disease.

Give monthly heartworm prevention

If your veterinarian's tests do not show a presence of adult heartworms, it's likely your veterinarian will recommend a monthly heartworm preventative. It's important to consistently give your pet heartworm medication at the same time each month, as this may considerably reduce your pet's risk of disease.

The American Heartworm Society reports pets being diagnosed with heartworm disease throughout the year (even in winter) in all 50 states. Practicing monthly prevention can help reduce your pet's risk of infection. In addition, some heartworm preventatives may also protect against other worms such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. See individual product package for full details.

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