Puppies and kittens are so gosh darn cute, and they’re incredibly loving towards their humans. There’s so many reasons that people become very attached to their new pets almost as soon as they get them home, but those are probably the two main ones. That love and dedication to your dog or cat will then continue for as long as you’re so fortunate to have them in your life. For most pet owners, they’ll be committed to doing everything they can to ensure their pet stays in the best of health. Heartworms are a major concern for owners, and that’s as it should be.
There’s so many different parasites that can be a risk for your pet, and the most well known of them are fleas and ticks. Not to let fleas and ticks off the hook, but it’s highly unlikely that getting them is going to put your cat or dog’s life in danger. A heartworm infection, on the other hand, creates that risk in a big way. If a heartworm infestation isn’t caught soon enough, your pet can die from cardiac failure as the worms take over the heart and cause it to fail.
Fortunately there are many different types of heartworm preventive treatment products available, and some of the most popular are flea and tick medications that kill heartworms too. Medication for heartworms is a good choice, but it’s also to learn more for understanding heartworms and prevention tips. Most veterinarians will agree that heartworms are easy to prevent, but difficult and costly to eliminate once they’ve taken up residence.
Heartworm prevention for dogs in 2019 is as much a priority as it’s always been, and dog and cat owners are encouraged to get up to speed on what can be done to prevent heartworms. We’ll look at that in greater detail here, with an aim to keep your dog safe from heartworms.
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How Do Pets Get Heartworms
Speaking of parasites, if there’s one that’s the most reviled the whole world over its mosquitoes. These blood-sucking insects are a major nuisance whether you’re on two legs or four. There’s a major connection between those darn mosquitoes and whether or not your dog or cat has heartworms. That’s because the way a dog contracts heartworms is by the bite of a mosquito.
What happens is the microfilariae (larvae) of the worms are passed into the bloodstream from the mosquito. It then takes seven months for the larvae to mature into fully-developed heartworms. Once they reach full maturity they set themselves up in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels. They debilitate the function of these organs, and if left unchecked the animal will have its life in danger before long.
Understanding heartworm and prevention tips is helpful, but if you live in an area with mosquitoes (which is pretty much everywhere here in North America during summer and early fall) it’s a fact that there’s not much you can do to prevent mosquito bites. Either for yourself or for your pet. But by giving your dog or cat a once a month heartworm medication, you can prevent heartworms effectively for your pet.
Popular Heartworm Medications
We’ll start with something that is sure to sound good to most pet owners here. If you’re the type to ask how much does heartworm medication cost with some apprehension, then you’ll be pleased to learn this. For most dogs a full year’s supply of heartworm medication usually won’t cost more than $80 and usually quite a bit less than that. And if you’re a conscientious pet owner it will be easy to see that as money well spent to prevent heartworms, especially when you come to understand how much it costs to treat heartworms.
Once a dog has a heartworm infestation, what usually happens is that they will need injection treatments to kill heartworms. But before that they’ll need extensive pre-treatment with x-rays, blood works, and other types of necessary tests. When you consider that all of this can add up to vet bills up to $1,000 in some cases, it is much better to prevent heartworm rather than be forced to treat it in order to save your pet’s life.
Now that we’ve stressed that advice, let’s look at good heartworm medications for dogs and cats. Heartgard Plus is one of the more well known and reputable ones in America, and Revolution is one of the better ones that’s suitable for both dogs and cats. Interceptor Plus, Trifexis and Sentinel are all good choices as broad-spectrum parasite killer meds for dogs, in that they work to effectively eliminate heartworms and other types of parasitic worms PLUS do the same for fleas and ticks.
Natural Heartworm Treatment Alternatives
We should start here by saying that most veterinarians in America will insist that their clients only use one of the types of heartworm preventive treatment products. Without using one, you will not be able to have any type of reliable assurance that your pet is unlikely to get heartworms. However, with that said, there are some natural treatments for heartworms that have been promoted by people who are not comfortable with giving pharmaceuticals to their pets.
You’re of course free to look into these if you like, but again do understand that none of these heartworm prevention methods are going to be as reliable as any of the medications listed above.
- Black Walnut Hull
This is created as a tincture in a capsule and is a popular choice for holistic veterinarians. It is reported to cleanse a dog’s digestive system and bloodstream, killing the heartworm parasite before it can mature into an adult worm. Be aware that if this product is used incorrectly it can be toxic. Use with caution.
Here’s a safer choice if you want to go the natural heartworm treatment route. Garlic also works by preventing heartworm larvae from maturing. If you’d like to give this a try, here are some dosage guidelines.
- 10 to 15 pound animal – half a clove of garlic
- 20 to 40 pound animal – 1 full clove of garlic
- 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves of garlic
We’ll conclude this discussion on heartworms today by adding one last natural treatment option, but one that will seem very ‘off the wall’ for most of you. There’s some people who insist that Guinness Beer can actually work to prevent heartworms. Now, it goes without saying that giving alcohol to your pets is not something we recommend, but there you have it.
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