Heartworm prevention in dogs is a critical aspect of their healthcare routine. Heartworm disease is a potentially life-threatening condition spread by mosquitos and caused by parasitic worms known as Dirofilaria immitis. These worms reside in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of infected dogs and can grow up to 30 cm long. Here’s an overview of heartworm prevention for dogs:

  • Understanding heartworm transmission: Heartworms are primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it picks up immature heartworm larvae. These larvae develop within the mosquito into an infective stage. Subsequently, when the infected mosquito bites a healthy dog, it transfers the larvae into the dog’s bloodstream, initiating the infection.
  • Prevention through medication: Heartworm prevention involves the regular administration of preventive medications. There are several types of preventive options available, including oral tablets, topical solutions, and injectable formulations. These medications work by either killing the immature larvae or preventing their development into adult heartworms.
  • Consultation with a veterinarian: It is essential to consult one of our veterinarians to determine the most suitable heartworm prevention protocol for your dog. Factors such as the dog’s age, health status, lifestyle, geographic location, and previous exposure to heartworms are considered when recommending the appropriate preventive medication.
  • Regular administration: Heartworm preventive injections are typically administered on a yearly basis. Consistency is crucial, as missing doses or irregular administration can leave the dog vulnerable to infection.
  • Annual heartworm testing: Even when dogs are on a regular preventive regimen, annual heartworm testing is recommended. This test detects the presence of heartworm infection in its early stages, allowing for prompt treatment if needed. Compliance with preventive medications combined with annual testing helps ensure early detection and effective management of heartworm disease.
  • Lifestyle precautions: While heartworm prevention is crucial, it is also advisable to take additional precautions to minimise exposure to mosquitoes. This includes avoiding outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours, using mosquito repellents specifically formulated for dogs, and keeping doors and windows screened to prevent mosquito entry.

Please note that intestinal “all wormer” tablets do not provide protection against heartworm disease. Heartworm prevention requires specific medications designed to target and prevent heartworm infections. By implementing a regular heartworm preventive regimen, consulting with us and having your dog injected annually, you can significantly reduce the risk of heartworm infection in your beloved canine companion.

If you require any guidance or advice regarding heartworm in your dog, feel free to reach out to Swan Street Vet today. Our experienced team is here to assist you and provide the necessary information and support. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (03)9111 0000. Your dog’s health is our priority, and we’re ready to help.