The risk of heartworm can be right at your door at any time. A heartworm positive dog in the neighborhood can substantially increases the risk of infection in healthy dogs. There are 22 different mosquito species in the U.S. that can carry heartworm and they are active at different times of the year. Heart worm season is ALL YEAR ROUND… so using heartworm prevention is essential all year round!
DO’s and DON’T’s Of Heartworm Protection
DO have your veterinarian test your dog every year for heartworm infection. It takes roughly 5 months for an infection to be detected with a standard heartworm test, so if your dog becomes infected this schedule helps insure early diagnosis and treatment.
DO give your dog his or her heartworm prevention on time, every time. Whether you give a monthly pill or topical medication – being consistent is essential. Not only is your dog protected, but you stay in the prevention habit.
DO make sure the product you rely on is really a heartworm preventative. With so many parasite protection products on the market, it is easy to get confused. Far too many people assume their flea and tick product is protecting their dog from heartworms when it is not.
DON’T skip testing just because your dog is on year-round heartworm prevention. While this will likely keep him or her heartworm free if you miss a dose, are late with it – or your dog spits out or rubs off the medication – it could create an infection opportunity.
DON’T stop prevention just because you have not seen a mosquito lately. Heartworm preventatives work retroactively, eliminating new infections that were transmitted months earlier. Rather than guessing at when it might be “safe” keep your pet on prevention all year round.
DON’T forget that many heartworm pills and topical products protect against other parasites. Some protect pets from intestinal worms; others also protect fleas and certain ticks and mites. Talk to your veterinarian about what product offers the protection your dog needs.