Heartworm is a potentially fatal parasitic disease transmitted by the mosquito. It takes up to 7-months for the heartworm larvae to mature in the dog. Once mature, the heartworm causes disease by clogging the heart and major blood vessels. Clogging of the vessels causes reduced blood supply to the major body organs; including the lungs, liver and kidney, resulting in organ failure. With severe infection, dogs may die suddenly following exercise or excitement.
Treatment of diagnosed heartworm is complex, expensive and risky. Treatment involves killing the mature heartworms, which can grow to be over 30cm long! Killed worms also have the potential to clog vessels and cause death by embolism until treatment has finished (which can take months). Prevention against heartworm is therefore best!
There are many different products that offer heartworm protection. We recommend the following options:
- Milbemax Allwormer: Protects against heartworm when given monthly. Can be given from 2-weeks of age.
- Nexgard Spectra: A multi-coverage parasite preventative. Can be given monthly from 8-weeks of age.
- Proheart Injection: Can be given first at 12-weeks of age, with a booster 6-months later. The injection can then be given yearly for life.