Is Heartworm Medication Necessary?
When parasitic worms attack the arteries of dog or cat lungs (and sometimes the heart of dogs), a serious and potentially life-threatening condition called heartworm disease is the result. Heartworms represent one of the many different species of roundworm that poses a threat to dogs and cats of any age or breed. Today, reported cases of heartworm have been detected in every state of the U.S, especially in the eastern and southeastern parts of the United States.
What is Heartworm Medication?
Heartworm medication is used to prevent the development of heartworms into a potentially deadly condition. Most advanced cases of heartworm disease in dogs have been treated with success, but the overall process is a burden for both pet owner and pet. Heartworm medication is also helpful for those looking to avoid reinfection in their pets. In the United States, there are no approved heartworm treatments for cats. While they seem more resistant to heartworm than dogs, a great deal of felines encounters a life-threatening shock to the natural removal of dead worms. To prevent this hazard, medication assists pets in preventing this occurrence from taking place.
Do Dogs Need Heartworm Medicine?
Pursuing heartworm medication for a pet, especially when it comes to dogs is well worth the effort. While heartworm is a dangerous disease, it is also preventable. Best of all – most heartworm medications are safe, easy to administer, and don’t cost an arm and a leg. It is in the best interest of your pet that you choose prevention methods and most importantly for dogs, as there face no effective remedy for heartworm disease. In dogs, treatment is possible, but the overall process is expensive and difficult. Infected dogs take weeks and sometimes months before they reach the point of full recovery.
On the market, daily and monthly tablets, topicals, and chewables are available for both dogs and cats. For example, the chewable form of Heartgard comes in flavored and non-flavored chewables that are extremely effective when given on a routine basis. Overall, heartworm medications work to eliminate the development of heartworm before they reach the adult stage that is responsible for attacking the lungs and heart, and causing disease. According to the American Heartworm Society, pet owners are encouraged to embrace year-round prevention methods in order to control the threat of heartworm disease.
Heartworm Medication and Dogs
While the heartworm disease in dogs is caused by the same parasite (Dirofilaria immitis) that affects cats, both groups of animals respond differently to the potential condition that may follow. Dogs possess a very high susceptibility to the infection, where nearly all dogs exposed to infected larvae will become infected. Cats face between a 61% to 90% chance of developing the disease when exposed to infected larvae. The worms in dogs last longer (five to seven years) when compared to the two- to three-year life span in cats.
Sometimes, a dog will encounter an ectopic infection, while this is not common in cats. In infected dogs, it is not unusual to locate more than 30 worms in their body, while cats most commonly become infected with one to two. The lungs and heart of the dog are most at threat with heartworm disease. In the end, heartworm medication becomes most vital in combating this potentially fatal disease in cats, whereas the size of the dog, number of worms, and level of exercise will play an important role in the severity of heartworm in canines. However, to avoid the costly treatment regimen for dogs, prevention is highly suggested for both the pet owner and dog.