Is your dog on heartworm preventative?
Heartworm is a serious disease, but the good news? It’s completely and easily preventable!
Myth #1 – We don’t have heartworm disease in Oregon!
Fact – Oh, yes we do. Via the CAPC (Companion Animal Parasite Council) surveillance numbers based on veterinary diagnostic laboratory reporting, there were 40 positive cases of heartworm disease in Washington County in 2016 and 39 in Multonomah county. These numbers were ZERO just a few years ago. These also do not take into account possible positives that have not been reported because of in-hospital testing.
Myth #2 – My dog is indoor only and isn’t around other dogs.
Fact – Your dog still goes outside for potty. And mosquitoes. They fly. Also, many dogs now travel far and wide with their owners. They can easily travel into a mosquito “hot spot”, including parts of southern Oregon.
Myth #3 – My vet says my dog’s heart and lungs sound fine. So she certainly doesn’t have heartworms.
Fact – Heartworm infection, unless in the very very late stage, is not audible to the stethoscope. It does not cause a cardiac murmur, and there are no changes to lung sounds until late into the infection.
Myth #4 – My dog is not heartworm infected because his fecal sample was negative.
Fact – Heartworm disease is diagnosed via a blood test, not a fecal test.
Myth #5 – If my dog gets heartworms, I can just give him the preventative to treat the heartworm disease.
Fact – The preventatives only kill the larval stages of heartworms. None of them will kill the adult worms which live for 5-7 YEARS. So yes, you can give the preventatives to prevent the microfilaria and larvae, but your pet still has a potential foot long worm in her/his heart that is causing all sorts of damage to the blood vessels. In addition, a positive heartworm infected dog can have an adverse reaction to the preventative if already infected with a large worm burden.