It is a common misconception that indoor pets, especially cats, do not need to be placed on heartworm preventative. If you have ever swatted at or been bit by a mosquito in your home, then your pets are at risk of contracting the disease.
Here at VMC we recommend starting puppies and kittens on heartworm preventative starting at 8 weeks, and continuing the preventative every 30 days for the remainder of the pet’s life. Here are some simple ways of remembering to give it:
- Mark it on your calendar: Some preventatives come with a sticker to place on the date that your pet is due for it.
- Put a reminder in your phone on the day that your pet is due.
- Write the date on the individual blister pack of the preventative – this will help in remembering that you gave it or still need to give it.
What products are available for heartworm preventative?
There are oral, topical, and injectable preventatives available. ProHeart6* is the injectable version that is administered in our office every 6 months. The oral preventatives available are Trifexis*, Heartgard, Sentinel, Iverhart, and Triheart. Topical products available are Revolution* and Advantage Multi. *These products are available in our office.
Each product provides preventatives such as flea, tick, and intestinal parasites. A comparison chart is available here.
The American Heartworm Society (AHS) recommends testing every year to ensure that the heartworm preventative chosen is working. Though preventatives are highly effective, they are not 100% and pets can still become infected. Whenever a dose is missed or is late, the pet is vulnerable to contracting the disease. Pets can also leave themselves unprotected if they spit out the pill or rub off the product while owners aren’t looking. An annual examination and heartworm testing are necessary to renew the prescription and be able to purchase more preventative.
Heartworm disease is very prevalent in our area therefore it is recommended to keep your pet on heartworm preventative monthly even throughout the winter. There is no treatment for cats so prevention is critical. The treatment for dogs is very expensive and uncomfortable and also requires very strict confinement during the course of the treatment.
Here is a chart on the lifecycle of the heartworm for the dog and the cat.
We are always here to answer any of your questions and ensure that your pet stays happy and healthy. Please do not hesitate to call us with any questions regarding your pet’s care.
For more information on heartworm disease, visit the American Heartworm Associations website at www.heartwormsociety.org