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Heartworm Disease and Prevention

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects dogs in Florida and other parts of the United States. Fortunately, heartworm prevention is easy and effective, and there are several steps that pet owners can take to protect their furry friends. In this blog post, we'll explore some of the key things that you need to know about heartworm prevention in Florida.


What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection that is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it can pick up tiny heartworm larvae, which then mature into adult worms over the course of several months. These adult worms can grow up to a foot long and live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of infected dogs, causing serious damage to these organs over time.


Why is Heartworm Prevention Important?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that can be difficult and expensive to treat. Prevention is much easier and more cost-effective than treatment, and it can help to ensure that your dog stays healthy and happy for years to come. By taking steps to prevent heartworm disease, you can help to protect your pet from this dangerous and debilitating condition.


How Can You Prevent Heartworm Disease?

There are several steps that you can take to prevent heartworm disease in your dog:

  • Talk to your veterinarian about preventatives: Your veterinarian can recommend a heartworm prevention plan that is tailored to your dog's individual needs. They can also provide you with information about the different types of heartworm prevention medications that are available, and help you to choose the one that is right for your pet.

  • Administer heartworm prevention medication: Heartworm prevention medication is available in several different forms, including pills, chewables, and topical treatments. These medications work by killing heartworm larvae before they can mature into adult worms. It's important to administer heartworm prevention medication on a regular schedule and not miss any doses.

  • Reduce your dog's exposure to mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are the primary carriers of heartworm larvae, so reducing your dog's exposure to mosquitoes can help to lower their risk of infection. This can be done by keeping your dog indoors during peak mosquito hours and eliminating standing water around your home.

  • Get your dog tested for heartworms: Even if your dog is on a heartworm prevention plan, it's important to get them tested for heartworms at least once a year. This can help to ensure that the prevention plan is working effectively, and can also help to catch any infections early, when they are easier to treat and less likely to cause permanent damage to the heart or lungs.

By following these steps, you can help to protect your dog from heartworm disease and ensure that they stay healthy and happy for years to come. If you have any questions about heartworm prevention or would like to schedule a heartworm test for your pet, please call Starkey Ranch Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment.

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