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What is Heartworm and How Do You Treat It?

An Ounce of Prevention: Veterinary Heartworm Treatments in Louisville

Heartworm is a potentially fatal disease caused by a blood-borne parasite. Your dog can get heartworm if bitten by an infected mosquito. As the parasite grows, it can impact numerous internal organs and eventually kill your dog. The Louisville mosquito season starts in late summer and runs through early fall. Doerr Animal Clinic can provide you with heartworm preventives to help prevent the spread of this disease.

Your Veterinarian Recommends Prevention

Treatment for heartworm is complicated and often expensive. We recommend using regular preventive medications so that your pet can avoid the disease. Preventives are oral medications that you can deliver at home. Most protect for at least one month and is available in a six-pack. While the mosquito season encompasses approximately half the year, we recommend that you continue treatment year-round. In Louisville, the average temperatures do not drop enough in winter to guarantee a mosquito-free season.

What are the Heartworm Treatment Options?

If your dog does contract heartworm, early detection is key to a good outcome. New medication protocols can kill off the parasite, leaving your dog healthy and happy. Shots are delivered over several months. If detected early enough, we give your dog one dose, wait 30 days, and do two follow-up doses. The medication can be hard on your dog, so our veterinary clinic recommends a gradual treatment. A course of antibiotics may also be recommended to prevent any secondary infections.

Late Stage Heartworm and Treatment

When you adopt a canine companion that already has heartworm, or the disease isn't diagnosed until the infection advances past the heart and into other organs, your dog may need a different treatment plan. In severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend surgery. Whether diagnosed early or late, one of the most critical components of successful heartworm treatment is rest. Try to keep your dog calm and limit exercise.

Schedule a Test Today

Contact Doerr Animal Clinic today to schedule a heartworm test in Louisville. Our veterinary practice also carries heartworm preventive to help avoid the need for treatment.