Prevention of heartworm disease is an important part of the health care of your dog. Heartworm medicine for dogs is not only widely available but easy to apply. Spot on products such as Revolution, flavored tabs offered by Sentinel and Interceptor, and tasty wafers of Heartgard are aimed at preventing heartworms from infesting your best friend. Protection from hookworms, roundworms and even fleas are also included in the formula of some heartworm preventive medicine.
Treatment is an expensive option if your dog develops heartworm disease. The goal of treatment is to destroy the heartworms living in your pet’s heart and lungs but treatment can be dangerous if your pet has other health problems.
The number of worms present in the animal indicates the severity of the disease but the activity level of the dog also plays an important role. As the heartworms die they decompose and the fragments can lodge in pulmonary arteries and block blood flow. This blood flow increases during period of physical activity which can increase the chances of clogged arteries that potentially can cause heart failure. Dogs undergoing treatment to cure heartworm disease must be restricted or confined to prevent high levels of activity that could increase blood flow.
Melarsomine is the only drug approved for treatment of heartworm disease. The three dose systems recommended today is comprised of one injection followed a month later by two more injections at a 24 hr intervals. The treatment protocol is now recommended by the American Heartworm Society and replaces the previous treatment of two injections 24 hours apart.
The earlier treatment method did not always kill all of the heartworms present in the dog. The drug is not effective for heartworms younger than 4 months old. Currently, veterinarians often advise pet owners to administer Heartgard monthly for two to three months before subjecting their pet to the cure for heartworm. This has the effect of preventing new, young heartworms from growing in the animal and increases the effectiveness of the treatment.
The health of your dog overall is a huge consideration when considering treatment for heartworm disease. The cure acts as a poison (arsenic) in order to kill the parasites and weak canines may not be able to survive Melasaromine. For a comparison, you should realize that heartworm treatment for a dog is similar to chemotherapy for a person. Old or weak animals may be treated instead for 36 weeks with ivermectin and doxycycline on a weekly basis. This will reduce the heartworms present significantly and administration of a four week regiment of doxycycline every four months will keep the number of heartworms low in the animal.
There are times when heartworm disease is not diagnosed until the dog is faced with a life threatening medical crisis in the form of a heart problem. This is caused by obstruction of blood flow through a heart valve that interferes with the closing of the valve. The symptoms may be lethargy and severe weakness that come on quickly and the only treatment is surgery to attempt to remove the heartworms blocking the heart valve. A tool inserted through the jugular vein removes worms one by one.
There is no reason your pet should need to undergo drastic surgery or suffer the side effects of chemotherapy for heartworm disease. Heartworm medication for dogs is readily available through your veterinarian and can also be purchased at a cost effective online site specializing in canine medicines. Twelve doses of Heartgard, Sentinel, Revolution or Interceptor each year will fully protect your best friend from heartworm disease the damage it can cause. Ask your vet to test your dog for heartworm and buy preventive heartworm medicine for dogs at a reputable online pet pharmacy.