Did you know that a pet on heartworm preventative medication can still get heartworm disease? According to Veterinary Cardiologist Dr. Laura DeLellis, if you are like most people and forget to give your pet a dose of preventative medication one month, your pet could be at risk for catching this serious and potentially fatal condition.
Caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs and cats, heartworm disease is easy to prevent with medication. “If your pet lives north of the Virginia/North Carolina state line (with no travel south of this line), you only need to give your pet preventative medication for six months of the year, June – November,” states DeLellis. “However, if you have missed a monthly dose, you will need to give the preventative every month for an entire year after your missed dose to ensure your pet will be protected. The easiest and safest route is to just give your pet heartworm medication year-round no matter where you live.”
While keeping heartworm disease away is important for both species, for cats prevention is the only option. “Unfortunately, there is no easy, safe treatment available for cats. Heartworm infection in cats is hard to diagnose and near impossible to treat. Prevention is key,” DeLellis warns. For more information on heartworm disease, visit www.heartwormsociety.org.