The Value of Heartworm Prevention
Heartworm prevention is a crucial component of keeping your pet healthy and disease-free, along with routine immunizations and wellness checks. Keep your four-legged pet on heartworm prevention year-round since mosquitoes don’t hibernate during the winter and heartworm disease has been identified in every state of the United States.
Heartworm life cycle
Heartworms can infect any mammal, although they favor canine hosts. Microfilariae, or heartworm larvae (L1), are ingested by mosquitoes when they bite an infected mammal. The larvae are stimulated to molt to the L2 stage by the salivary glands of the mosquito, where they move and molt into the infectious L3 stage. The L3 larvae swim beneath the animal’s subcutaneous tissue while the mosquito feeds. The larvae gradually molt through two stages, moving toward the pet’s heart until they eventually reach the main pulmonary artery, where they mature and begin to reproduce.
How to avoid heartworms
Although the mosquito goes through several larval stages inside the animal, only two of these stages are susceptible to heartworm prevention. Preventatives are no longer effective against heartworm larvae once they reach juvenile or adult stages; instead, they must be treated with a harsh and expensive medication that contains arsenic.
Giving your pet a monthly heartworm preventive, whether it be an oral chewable or a topical liquid, successfully kills the heartworm larvae before they mature into a more resilient life stage. Monthly prophylaxis that prevents the life cycle from continuing and harming your pet is essential since immature larvae can molt into the adult stage in as little as 51 days. Every six or twelve months, it is also possible to deliver injections with a gradual release technique that ensures heartworm larvae are eliminated before they molt. Although heartworm prevention cannot stop mosquitoes from biting your pet or stop the spread of heartworm larvae, it can stop the potentially fatal heartworm disease.
Look into your pet’s alternatives for heartworm prevention in recognition of National Heartworm Awareness Month. Give our staff a call to learn more about the heartworm preventive that will keep your canine companion healthy.