One of A Kind Education
What’s the Deal With Heartworm?
Surely, you’ve heard from your veterinarian about the importance of heartworm prevention, but how much do you really know about this life-threatening condition? In this article, we’ll cover the basics of Heartworm and why it is so important to maintain a regular program of prevention.
What is heartworm?
Heartworm is a parasite that, once introduced to your pet’s bloodstream, will set up camp in their heart and can progress into a very serious, deadly disease. Its primary form of transmission is by the bite of an infected mosquito, introducing the microfilaria (or microscopic worms) into the pet’s bloodstream. Canines are the primary host for this disease; however, it can affect cats as well.
How common is heartworm?
Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine estimates that over 100,000 dogs in the United States are diagnosed with heartworm each year. This disease is present in all 50 states.
What can I do to keep my pet safe?
Heartworm prevention can be easily accessible through your veterinarian. It can come in either a monthly oral tablet or a 6 or 12 month-long injection! It is important to comply with your veterinarian’s recommended course of preventative care, usually including an annual heartworm test, as no medical vaccination or product is 100% fail-proof. If your pet were to come down with a case of heartworm disease while on prevention, most big name manufacturers of the preventatives will cover the cost of treatment so long as you can provide them with proof that your pet has been on heartworm prevention regularly.
Cost of prevention vs treatment
You may be thinking “heartworm prevention is so expensive; how much could treatment possibly be anyway?” The average cost of monthly heartworm prevention for dogs is roughly $10/month. Adding in a yearly heartworm test at roughly $40 would bring your yearly cost to $160.
The cost of treating an infected dog for heartworm can begin at $1,000 and go up depending on factors like the dog’s size and the length of time the disease has been present. This treatment is a grueling series of testing and injections and is very hard on the animal both physically and emotionally. The disease can also have lasting side effects on our beloved pets.
Is my cat safe?
Unfortunately, though not as commonly as dogs, cats can still be infected with heartworm. While there is an approved treatment for heartworm in dogs, no such solution currently exists for our feline friends. The best way to guarantee a safe and healthy cat is prevention! There are some flea and tick prevention products available through your veterinarian for cats (like Revolution Plus) that also protect against heartworm disease.
How does this affect our rescue?
Because One of Kind Pet Rescue is a no-kill, no time limit shelter, we provide medical care for every animal that comes through the door with a treatable condition. This, combined with the fact that we pull animals from surrounding states where this disease is common, means that we see our share of heartworm positive dogs. If you would like to contribute to their care, treatment, and continued prevention, please consider donating at the link below.
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1929 West Market Street
Akron, OH 44313
(behind Walgreen's and AutoZone)
Spay & Neuter Clinic
1700 West Exchange Street
Akron, OH 44313
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