Heartworm Disease: Year-round Prevention is Key!


As April comes to a close, we want to highlight the most important “takeaway” from our focus on Heartworm Disease: Year-round Prevention is Key!

Are there things that keep you from giving heartworm prevention each month? Do any of these comments sound familiar?

“My dog or cat won’t get heartworms, they stay inside most or all of the time.”

  • Response: Mosquitoes come inside, and can even overwinter in some houses. It only takes 1 mosquito bite to transmit heartworms.

“I can’t remember to give the prevention.”

  • Response: Pick a time of month that stands out – e.g., the first of each month. Sign up for heartworm prevention monthly reminders here (Sentinel, Revolution).

“I give the prevention on a fairly regular basis, sometimes skipping just a month.”

  • Response: Heartworm prevention is only effective in a small portion of the heartworm lifecycle – skipping just one month can put your pet at risk for infection.

“I don’t need to give the prevention in the winter months.”

  • Response: Determining exactly when there will be no more mosquitoes in the winter or when mosquitoes will emerge in the spring is incredibly difficult. Additionally, mosquitoes can overwinter in some houses. Keep in mind that your pet’s monthly heartworm medication is also preventing other problems such as intestinal parasites, fleas, and mites (depending on the type of prevention).

“My pet dislikes the medication (e.g., spits it out, vomits it up, runs away if trying to apply a topical).”

  • Response: Talk to our doctors about alternative prevention options.

“If my pet develops a heartworm infection, I hear there is treatment.”

  • Response: There are no approved treatments for heartworms in cats, and the only approved treatment in dogs can be very hard on the body. Additionally, by the time an infection is diagnosed, the disease has likely already impacted the body in many negative ways.

“The prevention costs too much money.”

  • Response: Our team regularly evaluates preventive products so that we can recommend products that work with your budget. It is important to consider that It costs even more to pay for canine heartworm disease treatment than it does to prevent the disease (and there are no approved treatments for cats!). Check out this infographic.

Do you have other concerns or questions about giving monthly prevention year-round? Then call us today so we can work together to get your pet fully protected!

Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS