Frequently asked questions
What is heartworm disease?
Which animals are susceptible to heartworm disease?
Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, but the disease has also been found in cats, ferrets, wolves, foxes, coyotes, and even sea lions.
How is heartworm disease transmitted?
The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Female heartworms living in an infected animal produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites, it picks up these baby worms which develop into mature larve over a period of 10-14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another animal, the larve are deposited into the new host. The larve will develop into sexually mature heartworms in approxiamaely 6 months. The adults can live for 5-7 years in dogs,
What are the symptoms of heartworm disease?
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.
How can I prevent heartworm disease in my pets?
Monthly treatment with Medications containing ivermectin or moxidectin, are the best preventatives for dogs.
My pet has been tested positive for heartworm antigen. Now what?
Dogs who test positive can undergo treatment to clear thier hearts of the worms, but it is an involved process that can take up to 4 months for the "fast kill" method, and as long as 1 year for the "slow kill" method. The treatment requires confinement and reduced physical activity for the duration of the treatment.
What is the average cost of heartworm prevention vs heartworm treatment?
Heartworm testing averages about $25.00. Preventative medications are based on weight of animal with lowest doses averaging from $5 - $15 each month, depending on the type recommended by your veterinarian.
Why test/prevent/treat heartworm disease in rescue animals?
Testing and providing preventative treatment of rescue animals: