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The Importance of Heartworm Prevention

By May 7, 2018 Uncategorized

You’ve heard all the Blue Sky veterinarians stress the importance of using year-round heartworm prevention but do you know WHY it’s so important?

First, it’s important to understand the life cycle of the heartworm. “Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulates in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years (!!) in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.” (American Heartworm Society)

All approved heartworm medications eliminate the heartworm larval stages. Unfortunately, in as little as 51 days, immature heartworm larvae can molt into an adult stage, which cannot be effectively eliminated by preventives. Therefore, it is of extreme importance to use year-round heartworm prevention in order to protect your furry companion!

Remember, heartworm disease is prevalent in ALL 50 STATES!! It only takes ONE mosquito bite to infect your pet and the cost of preventative is so much cheaper than treating the actual (and may we add, DEADLY) disease… heartworm disease treatment can cost at least 15 TIMES the cost of a year’s worth of prevention!

Have questions or concerns? Be sure to ask your Blue Sky vet at your next appointment or call today!

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