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Heartworm Prevention And Treatment

Heartworm Prevention and Treatment in Derby, KS

Heartworm is a parasitic infection affecting mostly dogs and if left untreated can be fatal. Spread via the bite of mosquitoes carrying the Dirofilaria immitis parasite, heartworm larvae grow inside the host animal, mates with other Dirofilaria immitis worms inside the animal and reproduce.

It takes about six months for heartworm larvae to mature into adult heartworms, at which time the animal may or may not show symptoms of heartworm infection. To prevent your pet from suffering heartworm, visit your Derby veterinarian to receive heartworm preventives such as shots or monthly oral medication.

Heartworm Prevention and Treatment in Derby, KS

Heartworm Treatment

If your pet is diagnosed with heartworm, your veterinarian may give your pet Immiticide, a safe, highly effective heartworm medication that kills mature heartworms or ivermectin-based medications that more slowly kills heartworms.

Pets taking Immiticide need plenty of rest for several weeks. Restricting exercise makes it easier for your pet's body to eliminate dead worms without side effects. Animals engaging in rigorous physical activity while taking heartworm medication may cause worms to break loose from where they have amassed inside their bodies before the medication kills the worms. Several weeks after your pet starts taking either Immiticide or an ivermectin-based drug, your Derby vet will test your pet's blood to determine if any parasites still exist.

Preventing Heartworms

Preventive heartworm drugs are available for pets that come in topical form, chewable tablets or injections. Nearly100 percent effective when administered as instructed, heartworm preventives work by removing the larval stage of heartworm parasites, including heartworm larvae spread by mosquitoes and the ensuing larval stage that evolves inside your pet. Dog, cat and ferret owners should be aware that immature larvae can grow quickly into adult worms in about 45 to 50 days.

Once larvae have matured, heartworm preventives will not eliminate an existing heartworm infection. All heartworm preventives must be given according to schedule (monthly for oral or topical and once every six months for the injection) to be as effective as possible.

Heartworm Testing

Before starting your pet on a heartworm preventive, your veterinarian recommends having your pet tested for heartworms. This test is a simple blood antigen test that detects proteins released into your pet's bloodstream by female heartworms.

Treat Your Pets Heartworm in Derby, KS

The American Heartworm Society of the United States recommends kittens and puppies start on heartworm preventives at eight weeks of age or earlier. For more information on starting your pet on a heartworm preventive, contact El Paso Animal Hospital today at (316) 788-1000.

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