BY JJ McBride
Funny Farm Rescue Ranch
Did you know that dogs get heartworms from mosquitoes? However, they will not actually test positive until six months after they have been bitten by an infected mosquito.
In the meantime, baby heartworms called microfilaria are circulating in your dog’s blood stream. This is why it is extremely important to keep your dog on heartworm prevention starting at an early age and continue until the vet recommends you stop. Most dogs need to be on it their entire lives. The heartworm prevention kills the microfilaria and keeps them from turning into adult heartworms, which is when dogs test positive and the damage to the heart and lungs begin.
Luckily, there are several great options. There are oral pills and topical medications that provide monthly prevention. And there is even an injection called ProHeart 6 and ProHeart 12 that can protect your dog against heartworms for six or 12 months respectively. If your dog is over six months of age, most vets require that it receive a heartworm test before they will prescribe heartworm prevention. If you have a dog and it is not on heartworm prevention, get an appointment with your vet soon. Dogs with heartworms die a slow and painful death if they go untreated or treatment is started too late. It is much less expensive to keep them on heartworm prevention than it is to have to treat one once it is heartworm positive.