Heartworm infections in Texas and Oklahoma are a BIG problem. Sadly, we see heartworm infected IGs fairly commonly here. The treatment is long, spanning over a 2-3 month period, is expensive, requires lots of confinement, and can be quite stressful for the typical IG to go through. Sadly, some do not survive the treatment, but without it an infected dog will die a long, slow, and miserable death.
HEARTWORMS ARE PREVENTABLE-with the use of a YEAR ROUND heartworm preventative, your dog will be protected from developing heartworm disease. An added bonus is that certain common intestinal worms (which are not normally visible in stool) will also be kept under control since the preventative works for them as well.
Why does IGCA Rescue of Texas and Oklahoma consider year round administration of prevention so important? Here in Texas and Oklahoma we have crazy spurts of warm weather. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos. Mosquitoes can hang around well into Fall and be right back out before you even realize Spring has sprung. A single bite from an infected mosquito is all it takes to give your dog this deadly disease.
In addition, there is a defined window of time from the moment an infected mosquito bites your dog until a certain stage of worm maturity that the heartworm prevention is effective in preventing heartworm infection. If there is a gap of time that you do not give the monthly prevention, you may miss the window of effectiveness, which means heartworms are now maturing into reproducing adults and causing damage to your dog even though you think he is protected. Heartworm prevention DOES NOT kill mature heartworms.
*If your dog has missed doses of his monthly heartworm prevention, you should contact your veterinarian for advice before restarting it. Giving heartworm prevention to a dog with heartworm infection could make him sick and should only be done under the supervision of your veterinarian.
My IG doesn’t really spend that much time outdoors…Please don’t be fooled into thinking that because your dog rarely goes outside, he is not at risk-mosquitoes don’t knock and ask permission to enter your home! It takes ONE bite from ONE infected mosquito to infect a non-protected dog.
Heartworm prevention is INEXPENSIVE-many people don’t realize that they can purchase heartworm prevention from their vet for as little as $15-$30 for a 6 month supply-even cheaper in some areas. Be sure to ask your vet about all the types of heartworm prevention they carry and the different prices for them.
Avoiding mosquito exposure is also very beneficial to your dog! Keep all standing water around your home poured out and avoid outdoor walks when mosquito counts are up. Natural dog-safe mosquito repellents are also great to use while spending time outdoors when mosquitoes are particularly heavy in the area.
Please watch this video that explains how your dog gets heartworms from a mosquito and what happens once your dog is infected-