Never Worry About Heartworms Again!

8 Super Simple Tips for Staying on Top of Your Pet’s Monthly Medications.

What are heartworms exactly?

The American Heartworm Society says, “Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.”

Knowing how heartworms infect a pet helps us know how best to prevent them.  Let’s look at the typical cycle of heartworm infection.

First an infected animal gets bitten by a mosquito; mosquito ingests the larvae in the dogs blood

Second, the mosquito bites your pet and infects it with the larvae

Third, your pet now has heartworm larvae and it takes up to 6 months before it can be detected in dogs. It is often not detectable in cats.

Fourth, in dogs, heartworm infection can be deadly, and treatment is required.  There is no treatment currently for cats.

HW LifeCycle Graphic from the American Heartworm Society

Common signs of heartworm infection in dogs are:

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Lethargy or reluctance to want to exercise
  • Decrease appetite and/or weight loss

Signs in cats are not easy to detect and there is no approved drug therapy available for cats currently.  Cat’s can often be helped through great veterinary care to keep their symptoms stabilized.

“Signs of heartworm disease in cats can be very subtle or very dramatic. Symptoms may include coughing, asthma-like attacks, periodic vomiting, lack of appetite, or weight loss. Occasionally an affected cat may have difficulty walking, experience fainting or seizures, or suffer from fluid accumulation in the abdomen. Unfortunately, the first sign in some cases is sudden collapse of the cat, or sudden death.” –

Diligent monthly preventative medication and annual testing to be sure the medications are working is really the only way to prevent your pet from getting heartworms. Skipping doses or even being late on a dose can put your pet at risk.

Heartworm infections can happen year-round.

Here are some great tips for staying on top of your pet’s monthly heartworm medication:

  1. Always give it on the same day
  2. Always give it at the same time with a special treat
  3. Get all of your pets on the same schedule so no one slips through the cracks
  4. Set a reminder in your phone and write it on your calendar, set up a good calendar reminder alert
  5. Set up automatic refills for your pet’s medications through our online pharmacy HERE
  6. Be sure your pet eats the entire monthly dose of medication. This prevents lapses in coverage from month to month.

We offer Interceptor Plus for dogs and Revolution for cats.  We like Interceptor Plus for dogs because it not only protects against heartworm but also prevents 4 other intestinal parasites, adult hookworm, roundworm, whipworm, and tapeworms!  As a mom, Dr. Cooper looks for protection on all levels- both for the pets in the household, but also their people!

Revolution for Cats is a great 6-in-1 product because it protects against heartworms, fleas, ticks, ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms. That’s a lot of prevention in one monthly dose!

If you have missed your pet’s monthly dose of heartworm prevention, we can help you get back on track! Give us a call at 949-766-4449 to schedule an appointment for a blood test.  For the month of April, we are offering $20 off the heartworm test price for tests done in April. Plus, there is a really good rebate right now on Interceptor Plus. Buy a 12-month supply and get $15 back!