How Heartworm Prevention Keeps Your Pet Safe

Heartworm prevention is crucial for maintaining your pet’s health and preventing sickness, along with routine immunizations and wellness checks. Keep your four-legged buddy on heartworm prevention year-round because mosquitoes don’t hibernate during the winter and heartworm illness has been identified in every U.S. state.


The heartworm life cycle

Any mammal can be infected with heartworms, although these parasites prefer canine hosts. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, they ingest microfilariae, or heartworm larvae (L1), from the blood vessels. The mosquito’s gastric juices stimulate the larvae to molt to the L2 stage, and they then migrate to the mosquito’s salivary glands and molt to infective L3 larvae. When the mosquito feeds, the L3 larvae swim under the pet’s subcutaneous tissue. Over time, the larvae molt through two stages, traveling toward the pet’s heart until they finally arrive in the main pulmonary artery, where they reach adulthood and reproduce.


How heartworm prevention works

The mosquito develops into several different stages while within the pet, but only two of those stages are sensitive to heartworm prevention. Heartworm larvae cannot be killed by preventives once they reach the juvenile or adult stage and must instead be treated with a severe and expensive medicine that contains arsenic.

You may efficiently eliminate heartworm larvae by administering a monthly heartworm preventive to your pet, whether it be an oral chewable or a topical liquid. In order to prevent the life cycle from continuing and endangering your pet, monthly prevention is essential because immature larvae can molt into the adult stage in as little as 51 days. You can alternatively administer injections every six or twelve months that have a gradual release mechanism to guarantee that heartworm larvae are eliminated before they molt. Heartworm treatment finally stops the potentially fatal heartworm disease, even if it does not stop mosquitoes from biting your pet or the spread of heartworm larvae.

Look into your pet’s alternatives for heartworm prevention in observance of National Heartworm Awareness Month. Give your veterinary team a call to learn more about the heartworm preventive that will protect your pet’s health at its highest level.