With the beautiful weather already upon us, it’s important to remember that this increase in temperatures marks the beginning of heartworm season. Even though the instances of heartworm disease in this area are much less than in the Southern states we still see cases of heartworm disease in dogs that have never left Vermont or New Hampshire. For this reason we recommend that all dogs be treated with a preventative heartworm medication.
Heartgard is a once monthly oral medication that protects your dog from Heartworm disease as well as some common intestinal parasites (roundworms and hookworms). Heartgard is distributed by Merial and is available as a beef chew that is readily accepted by almost all dogs. This makes dosing your pet with heartworm prevention very east. Heartgard should be given from the months of April-December in cold weather regions. Even though there are no mosquitos present during the remainder of the year it is recommended that dogs receive year-round treatment. This is due to the added benefit of intestinal parasite prevention as well as increased owner compliance on a year-round schedule.
It is important to note that Heartgard works by killing the immature heartworms that are found in the bloodstream. It can also have some effect on adult heartworms. For these reasons it is important that your dog is tested for heartworm disease prior to the administration of Heartgard. If you decline to have this annual heartworm test performed you will need to sign a waiver at River Road veterinary Clinic indicating that you understand the risks associated with forgoing annual blood work.
The warmer weather also marks the beginning of flea/tick season and all dogs should also be treated with a preventative flea/tick medication. Frontline Plus, Revolution, Activyl TickPlus, Scalibor collars and Comfortis are all options for varying levels of flea/tick prevention.
If you have any questions regarding heartworm prevention or the best choice of preventative flea/tick medication for your dog please do not hesitate to call us at River Road Veterinary Clinic.