P.E.T.S. Clinic offers Heartworm Testing, Heartworm Prevention, and Heartworm Treatment.
Heartworms are foot long worms living in the heart and lungs of dogs that are potentially fatal. Transmitted by infected mosquitoes, heartworms are easy to catch, symptoms can go unnoticed, and heartworm treatment is notoriously difficult for the dog. The best cure for heartworms is prevention.
Heartworm prevention is as simple as a single dose of preventative monthly for your dogs and being aware of their environment in the outside areas to which they have access. Making sure your pets don’t have access to trash bins, making sure to cut back tall weeds and grass, preventing standing water, keeping your pets inside during dawn and dusk (when pests are at their worst), checking for fleas and ticks daily, and providing the preventative pill monthly can almost entirely reduce the risk of your dog getting heartworms.
Please check your local clinic information for scheduling and/or walk-in availability.
“Immiticide” is the most effective and quickest treatment that destroys all adult heartworms and is available at any Full Service Vet Clinic. Immiticide, a medicine, will be injected into your dog to kill the heartworms. Considering heartworms are damaging your dog’s heart and lungs every day they are present, this is the best treatment. Your full service veterinarian will discuss the risks associated with this treatment and give you guidelines of when to test again to determine if the treatment worked.
“Doxymectin” treatment is relatively safe and less expensive. It destroys adult heartworms over 1-3 years and requires 4 visits to our clinic during a 12 month period. Your dog’s heart and organ health may remain impaired from the damage the heartworms continue to cause and have already caused. If this treatment does not cure your dog, option 1 may still be recommended. Option 2 combines Doxycycline and monthly heart worm prevention.
Neither of these drugs alone will destroy adult heartworms but used together, they are quite effective. An organism lives inside the heartworms helping them to reproduce and stay strong and healthy. Doxycycline destroys that organism and makes it weak. The Ivermectin, in your monthly heartworm preventative, is then able to kill the weakened heartworms. This option destroys most if not all adult heartworms over time, but could take 1 – 3 years. We will check your dog’s blood for microfilaria, baby heartworms, on each visit to our clinic and recommend testing each year.
Option 3 is the least effective treatment. This option places your dog on heartworm prevention to slow the reproduction of new worms in your dog’s heart and prevent new heartworm infections from beginning. Heart and organ damage will continue until all adult heartworms have been killed. This treatment can take 2-6 years but is always better no treatment at all. We still recommend testing for heartworms each year.