Heartworm disease is on the upswing throughout the United States, and the SLO area is no exception. The latest studies show that about 3% of domestic dogs in the Central Coast are infected, and that is sad because if left untreated it will eventually kill these dogs. And it is disappointing because the disease can be prevented so easily.
Heartworm disease is transmitted via the bite of a mosquito. The reservoir for heartworm disease is the heartworm-positive dog down the street, or the infected coyote who wanders through your neighborhood. Simplistically, a mosquito bites an infected pet and sucks up not only blood but also a baby heartworm. This mosquito then flies over to our pet and injects the baby heartworm as they are beginning to feed on our pet. As heartworms multiply within our pet’s blood vessels, they grow to be a bout the size and shape of a piece of spaghetti. They eventually just clog up the chambers of the heart and big blood vessels, most often creating heart failure but also occasionally causing liver or kidney problems, or vomiting in cats.
Luckily, this disease can be prevented by using monthly medications for our pet – oral pills for our dogs, and a topical medication called Revolution in our cats. We offer two different canine heartworm preventives, depending upon whether fleas are a concern for your dog or not. If they are not, let’s use Iverheart Max, a meat-flavored pill that will completely eliminate heartworm disease and ALL intestinal parasites for our dogs. If fleas ARE a concern, we’ll use Trifexis, which prevents not only heartworm disease and intestinal parasites, but contains the very best oral flea preventive around. Heck, it will kill every flea on your dog within 4 hours!! The Revolution we use for cats will not only prevent heartworm disease, but it is also the best flea preventive for kitties and will also prevent intestinal parasites, mosquito bites, and ear mites! How’s that for comprehensive protection?
Of course, IF you’ve been paying attention, you have already figured out that another way to minimize heartworm disease is to minimize mosquitos themselves. Unfortunately, easier said than done.