It’s because I hate them. Hate, hate, HATE them.
It’s not uncommon for dogs coming into rescue to have heartworms. In fact, we’re treating Rose right now. Unfortunately, between owners who don’t properly care for their animals and the mass quantities of mosquitoes in the South (and yes, other parts of the country have them, too), heartworm positive dogs are in abundance. As a result, dogs become sick and some even perish. **Let me note that this is not an accusation to those who provide treatment and have an accidental mishap which results in a heartworm positive dog. I’m, instead, referring to those who do not provide good parenting toward animals in general.
Heartworm Disease is not something to be ignored or even watered down. This disease is terrible, hard to treat, and it is a difficult treatment for the dogs. When not tended to properly and rules are not followed, the dogs can even die as a result of treatment.
SO – if you or someone you know feels that there is no need to provide preventative b/c your dog never had it, that it’s not worth putting the money out on preventative, it’s a scam developed by veterinarians to make money…you are sadly mistaken. This is a legitimate disease, it’s rampant, and whoever doesn’t provide preventative, quite frankly, is an idiot and your pet’s well being is not a priority.
If you think it’s a hoax, look at this: Heartworms
That’s right…they are REAL! They are vile creatures that grow to enormous lengths and rip your dogs heart and lungs apart by munching away daily during their life cycle. According to the Heartworm Society, this can be up to SEVEN years. Can you imagine what it’s like to have multiple worms living inside your heart and lungs, eating it away daily? Just dwell on that thought for a moment….
Monthly preventative averages around $10 a month. That’s it. Just 10 bucks. It costs almost that much to eat fast food these days, so all you have to do is take a sandwich to work one day vs eating out and you’re covered. To boot, these preventatives also provide deworming for other parasites, and some even act as a preventative for fleas and ticks. So, let’s say you’re even putting out $15 a month…heck, even $20…you have to stop and realize how well you’re protecting your dog, how much money you’re saving in doctor visits, and what a stress reliever it is to know your dog(s) won’t be suffering. It surpasses “worth it,” trust me.
The gist is this: Heartworm Disease is instigated by a mosquito who carries the microfilariae after biting another heartworm positive dog. This mosquito bites another dog and the microfilariae infects this dog. When not on preventative the microfilariae mature and develop into adults that reek havoc on the dog’s body, causing he/she to be sick, very sick, or when left untreated, dead.
However, with the proper preventative maintenance, you can stop this from happening. Test your dog yearly and provide consistent heartworm preventative in tasty little pills once a month (*testing is necessary to prevent your dog from taking a medication while “positive” that may cause over stimulation to the present worms, resulting in additional problems, including death). That’s all you have to do. It’s not painful in the slightest, I promise you. This simple practice will avoid very expensive treatments (think $500 plus), your dog will not have to endure treatment nor the risks, your dog won’t have to be kept inactive (STRICTLY inactive – meaning CRATED) for one to two months, your dog will be much healthier and your wallet much happier.
Most of all, though, don’t you want your dog safe? That’s the key. So, let’s all be good pet parents and provide what our animals need to keep them healthy. You’ll be much happier, and so will your dog.
Oh, and cats can get heartworms, too. To learn more about Heartworm Disease in both dogs and cats visit the National Heartworm Society’s Website for the answers to all of your questions.