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Heartworm Prevention in Dogs

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					                      Heartworm Prevention in Dogs
The prevention of heartworm disease is one of the                    Prevention is definitely better than cure.
most important things that you must do for the health
                                                                 Heartworm really is a nasty disease. The good news is
of your dog. Heartworm is the most serious of all the
                                                                 that heartworm infection is easy to prevent. All of the
worms, and intestinal ‘allwormer’ tablets do not
                                                                 following products will kill the migrating larvae
prevent heartworm infection. If you own a dog, then
                                                                 before they reach the heart. If your dog is on regular
you must have him/her on regular heartworm
                                                                 doses of any of these products, then they will be OK.
prevention medication, from 6 weeks of age, for the
rest of his/her life – no exceptions.                                 •   Sentinel Spectrum – monthly flavoured tablets
                                                                          that also control fleas and intestinal worms.
    All dogs are at risk of heartworm disease.                       • ProHeart SR-12 – once-a-year injection.
In Sydney, dogs can get infected with heartworm at                   • Revolution – monthly liquid applied to the
any time of year, and all it takes is a simple mosquito                   back of the neck. Also kills fleas.
bite. It makes absolutely no difference if your dog                  • Interceptor – monthly flavoured tablets that
never leaves your yard. They’re just as likely to catch                   also control most intestinal worms.
heartworm disease in your yard as anywhere else.                     • Heartgard – monthly chewables or tablets.
It’s even been shown that                                            • ProHeart – monthly tablets.
indoor dogs are just as likely
                                                                 Over the last few years, with so many good products,
to get heartworm as those that
                                                                 the choice has become a bit bewildering! We can help
live outside.
                                                                 you cut through the confusion and will recommend a
Some facts about heartworm disease:                              product that is right for you.
•    Heartworms are long, thin worms that live in the            Note that we have not included the old daily
     major arteries in the heart and lungs.                      heartworm tablets and syrups on this list. They are no
     They are 17–30cm long! (that’s 6 – 12 inches).              longer thought to be a reliable or safe means of
•    Heartworm causes thickening and blockage of the             preventing heartworm infection. And remember that
     arteries in the lungs, and can damage the major             intestinal allwormer tablets do not prevent heartworm.
     valves in the heart. Serious damage can occur               All of the other products are very safe and effective,
     before any signs of disease are noticed.                    providing you take the following precautions:
•    Heartworm breed in the heart and their tiny larvae
                                                                                 Heartworm Testing
     circulate throughout the bloodstream, damaging a
                                                                 •    Dogs greater than 6 months old must be blood-
     variety of organs including the kidneys.
                                                                      tested before starting on medication (to make sure
•    One of the classic signs of heartworm disease is a
                                                                      that they are not already infected with heartworm).
     mild cough, but the first signs can be as vague as
                                                                      This also applies if they miss more than 6 months
     weight loss, poor hair coat or reduced fitness.
                                                                      medication. (Heartworm tablets will not usually
•    Serious illness can occur without warning signs.                 kill heartworm once they reach the heart, and
     Heartworm is a fatal disease if left untreated.                  giving tablets to a dog with adult heartworm may
•    Heartworm infection can usually be confirmed by                  cause side-effects.)
     a blood test, but even this isn’t 100% reliable.                 If treatment lapses for less than 6 months, it should
•    Heartworm infection is complicated, expensive                    be restarted ASAP, but a blood test will be needed
     and sometimes risky to treat.                                    8 - 12 months later as described in the next point.
                             A) Larvae enter dog from            •    Dogs more than 8 weeks of age when they have
                                infected mosquito.                    their first treatment should also have a follow-up
                             B) Larvae migrate through                blood test 8 - 12 months later. This eliminates the
                                tissues, reaching the heart
                                after approx. 4 months.               possibility that your dog may have been incubating
                             C) Worms mature in the heart             heartworm disease before being started on
                                at 6 months, and reproduce.
                                Microfilariae circulate in the
                                                                      medication. (Heartworm tests are only able to
                                bloodstream.                          detect heartworm after they mature in the heart).
                             D) Mosquito ingests blood
                                infected with microfilariae.     If you have any further questions about heartworm
                             E) Microfilariae develop into       disease, please give us a call.
                                infective larvae within the
                                mosquito.
                                                                                                         Copyright  May 2002


                               Phone: (02) 9829 1947 www.ingleburnvet.com.au
                                     92 Oxford Road, Ingleburn NSW 2565

				
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