Prevention of Heartworms: How Important Is It?
Heartworm prevention is crucial for maintaining your pet’s health and preventing sickness, along with routine immunizations and wellness checks. Keep your four-legged buddy on heartworm prevention year-round because mosquitoes don’t hibernate during the winter and heartworm illness has been identified in every U.S. state.
The life cycle of heartworms
Heartworms can infect any mammal, though they choose dogs as their hosts. Mosquitoes eat microfilariae, or heartworm larvae (L1), from the blood vessels when they bite an infected animal. The larvae are stimulated to molt to the L2 stage by the salivary glands of the mosquito, where they move and molt into infectious L3 larvae. The L3 larvae swim beneath the pet’s subcutaneous tissue as the mosquito feeds. The larvae gradually molt through two stages as they go toward the pet’s heart. Eventually, they reach the major pulmonary artery, where they mature and begin to reproduce.
How to prevent heartworms
The mosquito develops into several different stages while within the pet, but only two of those stages are sensitive to heartworm prevention. Heartworm larvae cannot be killed by preventives once they reach the juvenile or adult stage and must instead be treated with a severe and expensive medicine that contains arsenic.
You may efficiently eliminate heartworm larvae by administering a monthly heartworm preventive to your pet, whether it be an oral chewable or a topical liquid. In order to prevent the life cycle from continuing and endangering your pet, monthly prevention is essential because immature larvae can molt into the adult stage in as little as 51 days. You can alternatively administer injections every six or twelve months that have a gradual release mechanism to guarantee that heartworm larvae are eliminated before they molt. Heartworm treatment finally stops the potentially fatal heartworm disease, even if it does not stop mosquitoes from biting your pet or the spread of heartworm larvae.
Look into your pet’s alternatives for heartworm prevention in observance of National Heartworm Awareness Month. Give our staff a call to learn more about the heartworm preventive that will protect your pet’s health at its highest level.