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Posted on 08-06-2018

What Your Veterinarian Wants You to Know About Heartworm Prevention

Each year, an estimated 1 million dogs will contract heartworm--a potentially deadly health condition. Here at Nall Hills Animal Hospital in Overland Park KS, we know you're concerned about heartworm in your pets. Here's what you need to know about this common issue. 

young boy holding his dog

What is Heartworm?

Heartworm, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is a roundworm parasite. It's found commonly in dogs, but also sometimes in cats and other mammals. Mosquitos spread the parasites' larva from one host to another. Though heartworm can be found all over the United States, cases are not unheard of in the Overland Park KS area.

Heartworms live out their lifecycle within their host. Mature heartworms can live for up to three years in cats and up to seven years in dogs. Heartworms multiply inside your pet, causing serious problems to internal organs such as the heart and lungs. Heartworm disease, if left untreated, can be deadly for your pet. That's why preventing heartworm is so important.  

Veterinary Heartworm Prevention Tips

Luckily, there are some veterinary tactics to keep your pet heartworm-free. First, make sure your dog is tested for heartworm every year. Then put your pet on preventative heartworm treatment. Here are your options:

  1. Oral tablets. These pills are given to your pet monthly. 
  2. Topical liquid. This solution is applied to your pet's skin, usually once a month.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all medicines for heartworm prevention need a veterinarian's prescription. 

Does My Dog Need Year-Round Heartworm Protection?

Because Overland Park KS has relatively cold winters, you might think it's okay to not treat your dog for heartworm during these months. However, the American Heartworm Society now recommends giving dogs preventative heartworm treatments year-round. It's better to be safe than sorry since heartworm is easier to prevent than to treat.

Contact Our Local Veterinarian Today

Nall Hills Animal Hospital is a caring, compassionate veterinarian in Overland Park. If you have questions about heartworm or if you'd like to make an appointment, call us today at (913) 341-8836. 

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