1. Heartworm is a highly contagious blood parasite that is transmitted to dogs from a mosquito bite.
2. Heartworm is found in all 50 states, plus many other countries as well.
3. Heartworm is very easy and inexpensive to prevent and very costly to treat once the dog is infected.
4. Humans rarely get heartworm. Cats, ferrets and some other mammals can get infected as well, but much less common than dogs.
5. Heartworm preventatives come in two forms: injectable medication every 6 or 12 months, or a monthly chewable tablet that you can give to your dog at home. At Countryside Veterinary Service, we recommend the monthly chewable because of less risk for adverse reactions.
6. Testing for heartworm once yearly is important, because if left undetected, the worms will migrate to the dog‘s heart and lungs and cause irreversible damage. Testing dogs also ensures that the manufacturer of the heartworm medication will stand behind their product in the event that a dog becomes infected while on preventatives.