The Best Insurance Against Heartworm Disease

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Heartworms are internal parasites that can infect dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals. They live in the large blood vessels around a pet’s heart. Adult heartworms can reach over 11 inches in length and heartworms can live up to seven years in a dog.

But how do they get inside your pet?

Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and it only takes the bite of one mosquito to cause heartworm disease and irreparable damage to your pet’s heart, lungs and blood vessels. Even a mild case of heartworm disease can cause severe damage to the heart and lungs. Unfortunately, heartworm disease can even cause death.

With all this in mind, the best insurance for avoiding heartworm disease is preventing heartworms altogether.

Preventing Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

It is much less expensive to prevent heartworm disease than it is to treat it. Heartworm disease is difficult and expensive to treat in dogs, and unfortunately there is no treatment available for cats.

It’s impossible to keep your pet completely away from mosquitoes—even if they are indoor pets. Remember, it only takes one mosquito bite to transmit heartworm disease. Using a year-round heartworm preventive provides the best protection for pets. Heartworm prevention works by killing the immature stages of heartworms through an oral or topical preventive given monthly, or an injectable medication administered by your veterinarian every six months (dogs only).

If heartworm disease develops, treatments can be painful for pets and costly for pet owners, which is why it is important to keep all your pets on a heartworm preventive year-round.

Have your Pet Tested Yearly for Heartworm Disease

Adult pets should be tested for heartworm disease before they are given a heartworm preventive. Dogs should be tested on a yearly basis. No prevention offers 100 percent insurance against heartworm, and due to the nature of the heartworm life cycle, some infected pets may test negative in certain situations.

Yearly testing allows for diagnosis early in the course of disease, and early treatment can help to limit damage to the heart and lungs. Many of our Optimum Wellness Plans® include a heartworm test.

Although heartworm disease is preventable, the disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states. It can occur anywhere there are mosquitoes, and even indoor pets can become infected, too.

Talk to your local Banfield veterinarian to determine the best heartworm preventive for your pet.

Need More Info?

You can learn more about the heartworm lifecycle, signs of disease and prevention options on our heartworm education page. You can also browse the list of articles below for additional information.