A heartworm test is recommended once a year to ensure that the heartworm preventative is effective. Heartworm preventatives are a simple monthly pill that eliminates heartworm larvae before they can develop into adults. Adult heartworms live in the heart, cause heart disease, exercise intolerance, cough, and can lead to death. The adult form is very difficult to eliminate and treatment comes with serious risks. Most oral heartworm preventatives also control intestinal infections with roundworms and hookworms. These two diseases can be zoonotic-transmissible to people. For a few dollars a month your companion can be protected from multiple diseases.
Heartworm positive case, Monk a 6 year old Saint Bernard:
Monk was rescued in 2011 into a loving and caring home where he was fortunately able to receive the intensive care that he needed. He came with a list of issues, the most serious was his heartworm positive test. It was unknown how long he had been living with the disease or the last time he received appropriate veterinary care. The adult heartworms were living in his heart, restricting blood flow and causing heart enlargement. They were also reproducing, creating microfilaria (larvae) circulating within his bloodstream. His new owner struggled with how best to proceed heartworm disease left untreated would significantly impact his life and potentially be fatal, but treatment of the heartworm disease also comes with serious risks including life threatening complications. It was decided that we owed Monk his best chance for a long and healthy life. Monk underwent many tests and then multiple injections over 2 months to slowly rid him of his heartworm burden. This was followed by treatment for the circulating microfilaria. A long, 3 month schedule was planned to minimize the chance of complications. Monk is now almost 2 years out from his last injection, and he is out of confinement and is enjoying a well deserved; happy life. He is on his monthly heartworm preventative, a simple treat once a month to prevent him from contracting this devastating disease again. Monk is one of 7 dogs treated by Willow Creek in 2011 for this devastating disease. A number that could be zero if only for proper preventative care. Make sure your canine companion is tested for heartworm disease and then is maintained on once a month heartworm preventative.
Additional information can be found at The American Heartworm Society: http://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm.html
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