Heartworm disease is a serious and often fatal disease of dogs. It can be treated rather successfully if caught in time but most importantly, It can be prevented very easily! The de la Houssaye Animal Hospital recommends a once a month preventative until 6 months of age. From that age forward, we recommend a once every 6 month injection called “Proheart”. This product is effective and guaranteed by the company if certain protocols are followed. This medication is given in the same way a vaccination is given every 6 months. This eliminates the need for once a month pills. At the present time, it is only labeled for the prevention of heartworms and hookworms only and not other intestinal parasites or fleas. Because this product is like all other reputable prescription heartworm preventatives, it is only available through your veterinarian.
Tiny immature heartworms are transmitted in a mosquito bite. The parasite moves into the tissues of the dog only to migrate to the dogs heart. As the worms migrate inside the heart, they reproduce leading to a larger worm burden in the heart. Mosquitos that now bite this infected dog can transmit heartworms to the next dog it bites. It is a vicious cycle.
If this disease is not treated in a timely manner following infection, it can lead to multiple systemic problems followed by congestive heart failure and death.
The treatment has become somewhat routine today but it is not always without complications. The de la Houssaye Animal Hospital advocates only the newest and most effective medication. The name of the drug is Immiticide. A dog that is clinically normal with normal preliminary lab work before treatment can usually be successfully treated in approx. 6-8 weeks as long as there are no unexpected complications.
The de la Houssaye Animal Hospital advocates prevention of heartworms!
It must be mentioned that it is now documented and proven that heartworms have become resistant to the preventatives on the market to a certain level. It has also been seen, a change in immune complexes that in turn, are causing some tests to record a negative result when in actuality, the result is a positive. Because of these changes, it is of utmost IMPORTANCE to make sure your dog is properly placed on a preventative and if tested positive, properly have them treated by a veterinarian. The “slow kill” method that has been advocated by some for a long time is a leading cause of these resistance/testing issues. We would be happy to discuss this in detail with you at your convenience.