Heartworm disease? Is your dog adequately protected?
We all know how important tick prevention is for our dogs but what about heartworm disease? Is your dog adequately protected?
Heartworm in dogs is a potentially fatal disease that is transmitted from infected to uninfected dogs by mosquitoes. These mosquitoes inject a number of tiny worms (microfilaria) into the dog’s body which then mature into adult heartworm over about 6 months. These adult worms settle inside the chambers of the heart and interfere with the flow of blood. Adult heartworm infection causes heart failure which can result in serious illness and death. Heartworm disease is very difficult and expensive to treat so prevention is much better than cure!
According to the Australian Heartworm Advisory Panel, year-round heartworm protection is recommended for every dog Australia wide. Therefore, just as we vaccinate pets against deadly viral diseases, heartworm prophylaxis is an important cornerstone of preventative care. Whilst monthly heartworm preventatives have been demonstrated to be effective (when given every month) any lapse in treatment puts patients at higher risk of heartworm disease. Recent research showed that complacency around heartworm prevention has resulted in dogs testing positive to heartworm, in fact around 40% of dogs diagnosed with heartworm disease are on owner-given monthly heartworm preventatives.
The easiest way to avoid forgetting heartworm medication is to use annual heartworm prevention given by injection at the time of vaccination, this medication lasts for 12 months.
Sydney Animal Hospitals are currently offering a free heartworm test with every year-round heartworm prevention injection in December.
Call your local Sydney Animal Hospitals to discuss your dog’s heartworm prevention to make sure they are adequately protected leading into the warmer months.
I am often asked why we vaccinate our dogs every year and what diseases we are protecting them against. Vaccination is an essential part of the creation of ‘herd immunity’ whereby the larger animal population is protected because the prevalence of many life-threatening, contagious diseases is substantially reduced due to greater immunity in the population of pets as a whole.
For further information please contact your local Sydney Animal Hospital
Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville
Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore
Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista
Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville
Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport
Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach