|$ Heartworm Prevention Treatment in Tablets: $60 - $240||$ $ Injectable Heartworm Prevention Treatment: $75 - $350||$ $ $ Heartworm Treatment: $400 - $1K|
If you have a pet, you have probably heard about their vulnerability to parasites, especially when we talk about dogs, cats, or ferrets.
Parasites are organisms that get their food from their host’s organism, whether it’s by living inside them or by living on the outside (fleas, ticks, mosquitoes).
One of the most common parasites that affect these pets is Dirofilaria immitis, and it can result in a serious and potentially life-threatening disease.
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What Is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is a condition that mostly affects dogs, but it can also affect cats and ferrets to a lesser degree.
Dogs can only get infected through the bite of a mosquito that carries the parasite.
At the same time, dogs or other pets can’t transmit the parasite unless a mosquito bites them first and then bites the other pet or human.
However, humans generally don’t develop heartworm disease because the parasite can’t fully mature in our organism.
These parasites have been called ‘heartworms’ because when they infect a host, they inhabit the heart and lungs, causing serious health problems, and maybe even death.
Heartworms In Pets
Unfortunately, dogs are the perfect host for these parasites.
Once they get infected, dogs’ organism allows this parasite to fully develop, reproduce and reach adulthood.
Heartworms look like spaghetti strands at this stage, and since they can reproduce inside their host, there are usually between 15 and even 250 worms living inside a dog.
Cats and ferrets can also get infected but because their organisms don’t have the same ideal conditions for this parasite, their infections tend to be rarer and with hardly any symptoms.
Yet that doesn’t mean they are not in danger of developing a serious condition or dying because of the infection.
The most common symptoms in dogs start when the parasites begin to grow and reproduce in their organism.
Some of the symptoms are fatigue, cough, anemia, weakness, rapid heartbeat, and in more advanced stages, difficulty breathing, enlarged liver, and chronic heart failure.
Cats and ferrets usually don’t present specific symptoms that help us to detect these parasites at an early stage, but some of them can include fatigue, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
Heartworms can be detected with blood tests in dogs, but it’s more difficult to prove their presence in cats and ferrets.
Additional medical tests need to be administered in these cases.
Heartworm can be difficult to detect in the first months after the infection, which results in most treatments starting when the animal is already in an advanced stage of the disease.
When this happens, there are injectable drugs specifically designed to kill adult parasites.
This treatment generally comprises 3 injections, and the use of antibiotics and pain relief medication is also recommended.
After two weeks, these parasites will be eliminated from the organism of the animal, but their side effects could continue for a month or two after the treatment is completed.
Dogs can’t be allowed to exercise during this stage because when the parasites start to decompose, their fragments can still be dangerous for their small blood vessels.
The cost of heartworm treatment for dogs usually depends on the size and weight of the animal.
On average, you could spend between $400 and $1,000 on heartworm treatment.
The best way to avoid health complications and expensive veterinary bills is to prevent heartworm disease.
This can be accomplished by administering monthly tablets or using an annual injection.
Tablet prevention heartworm treatment usually costs from $60 to $240 per year, depending on the size and weight of your pet, whereas the injectable treatment is usually from $75 to $350 per dose.
Ask your veterinarian what is the best option for your pet.