Heartworm Disease and Prevention (Dogs)
Heartworm prevention is important for all dogs. We carry 3 different types of Heartworm preventatives in our office.
Heartgard Plus will prevent heartworms as well as the intestinal parasites hook worms and round worms. We recommend that you give your pet 1 beef flavored chewable dose every month all year long. As long as you purchased your Heartgard Plus from our office and use it every month, if your pet becomes infected with heartworm, roundworms or hookworms, the producers will cover the cost of your dog’s testing and treatment. The costs are not covered if you made the purchase from an online pharmacy.
Trifexis is also given once monthly. This medication protects against infection with heartworm, roundworms, hook worms, whip worms and fleas. Whip worms are uncommon intestinal parasites but are hard to get rid of, and dogs are more likely to become reinfected once their environment is contaminated with the parasite eggs. If your dog has had whip worms we recommend that you use Trifexis for at least several years before considering any other preventative. Trifexis does include flea control, but not tick control. We recommend adding a tick collar when using this product.
Revolution is a once monthly topical which provides protection against heartworm, fleas, ear mites and sarcoptic mange mites.
Risks of Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Heartworm disease is usually silent until very advanced. The worms live in the heart but also effect the lungs. If the infection is found early, damage to these organs can be minimal. Treatment to get rid of the worms at an early stage usually leaves healthy organs.
Dogs that have severe disease may have little tolerance for exercise and may cough or pant even at rest. As the infection progresses, changes in the heart and lungs can be irreversible. Infection in severely affected dogs are more difficult to treat because their organs are no longer healthy.
Occasionally, dogs with heartworm disease will show no signs of illness, but will drop dead. Every dog owner wants to avoid that scenario!
How Heartworm Disease is Transmitted
Heartworm Disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. A few days after biting an infected dog that same mosquito can now pass the infection to the next neighborhood dog that it bites.
Because Connecticut dog lovers are now rescuing dogs from Southern states, dogs living in Connecticut are at higher risk since the new dogs may bring heartworm disease with them.
Heartworm infection cannot be detected by blood tests for six months after transmission. If your dog has an unknown history you should have him/her checked when you adopt them and repeat the test in 6 months to insure that your dog is truly heartworm free. If your dog has not been on routine preventative a test should be done.
Heartworm disease is rarely transmitted to humans.
Cost estimate of Prevention vs. Treatment
Heartgard Plus costs about $67-$104 per year depending on your dog’s weight.
Trifexis costs about $216-$241 per year depending on your dog’s weight.
Revolution costs about $232-$280 per year depending on the size that you need for your pet.
Heartworm disease is preventable, and is very serious if your pet becomes infected. A 4 month treatment plan to treat a heartworm positive dog is about $950-$1250, if the dog is treatable.