Heartworm disease is a 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, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans.
Heartworms cannot be spread animal-to-animal; heartworms need a mosquito to complete their life cycle.
* A mosquito bites a heartworm-infected animal.
* The mosquito is then carrying microscopic versions of the heartworm, called microfilaria.
Click link to see living Heartworm Microfilaria
(You might reconsider if you get squeamish easily)
* When the mosquito bites another dog or cat, that animal is now infected with the heartworm microfilaria.
* Within 70 to 90 days, the microfilaria have made it through the tissues to the animal's heart, where they reproduce (providing both male and female worms are present) and live for several years. If both sexes of worms are present, they will be producing their own little microfilaria within 6 - 7 months after that mosquito bite.
* The cycle continues.
The best defense against heartworms is prevention. The product we recommend for dogs is Interceptor.
Interceptor is an oral broad-spectrum anthelmintic tablets for the prevention of heartworm disease and the control of roundworms, hookworms and whipworms in dogs and cats.
Oral tablets of 4 strengths are available:
* Interceptor 2.3mg, a tablet containing 2.3 mg of milbemycin oxime.
*Interceptor 5.75mg, a tablet containing 5.75 mg of milbemycin oxime.
*Interceptor 11.5mg, a tablet containing 11.5 mg of milbemycin oxime.
* Interceptor 23mg, a tablet containing 23 mg of milbemycin oxime.
Interceptor is well tolerated by dogs and cats of all ages and breeds, including Collie breeds and breeding animals. Interactions with other medicines are not known.
Interceptor must be given at monthly intervals, preferably on the same date starting within 1 month of the beginning of the transmission season and continuing until 1 dose after its end. We recommend that Interceptor be given year round as it protects your pet from some intestinal parasites that are common in this area.
Dogs should be tested for heartworm infection. Heartworm prevention programs should be started only in dogs found to be uninfected. Interceptor has been tested safely in over 75 different breeds of dogs, including collies, pregnant females, breeding males and females, and puppies over two weeks of age. In well-controlled clinical field studies, 786 dogs completed treatment with milbemycin oxime. Milbemycin oxime was used safely in animals receiving frequently used veterinary products such as vaccines, anthelmintics, antibiotics, steroids, flea collars, shampoos and dips.
We also recommend another product for cats only. It is called Revolution. Revolution is the first-ever FDA-approved, topically applied medication for cats that:
* Kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching.
* Prevents heartworm disease.
* Treats and controls ear mites.
* Treats and controls roundworms and hookworms.
Revolution enters the bloodstream through the skin. Concentrations of Revolution in the blood and tissues prevent heartworm disease and prevent and treat roundworm and hookworm infections. Revolution selectively redistributes from the blood to the skin and other tissues, where it provides protection against fleas, flea eggs, and ear mites. Revolution is generally well tolerated. In studies, less than 1% of cats experienced digestive upset. Approximately 1% of cats experienced temporary hair loss at the application site. Revolution should not be used in sick, weak or underweight animals.
No matter which product you and our Veterinarian decides is best for your pet, the best way to prevent illness from these parasites is that of PREVENTION. Let us help you care for your best friend.