10 Facts About Heartworm 2

dog heartwormHow many of you are guilty of this? You came into the clinic, we asked you about heartworm preventative, and you said “I’ve got some.” Now, maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But the last time you bought some was 3 years ago. And if you have some it’s sitting in a drawer somewhere not getting used. You know that doesn’t really count, simply “owning” heartworm preventative does not protect your pet. But at the same time you don’t really want to talk about it. You don’t want to get the sales pitch.

Here’s the thing, we don’t really want to talk about it either. We hate talking about anything that feels even remotely like a sales pitch. But at the same time, we have no idea what you really know about heartworm disease, and there’s some stuff you should know, so you can at least make an informed decision about whether this is something you want to spend your money on or not. So here we go, the 10 facts we want you to know about heartworm.

1. It’s transmitted by MOSQUITOES. Mosquitoes pick it up from one dog, fly around, bite your dog and pass it on to them. Tiny little larva enter the blood stream and grow up into big nasty worms that live in the heart.
2. It only takes ONE BITE. I hear a lot of people say “My dog never goes outside.” I always want to ask “Really? Never? Not even to go potty? In the morning and evening when mosquitoes are the worst?”
3. It does exist in MINNESOTA (even in Chanhassen and Chaska). Granted, we don’t have it in near the frequency they do in many of the southeastern states, but we still see in more often than many other parts of the country. And because many rescue dogs from the SE get shipped up here for a better chance at a adoption, we are seeing it more.

4. Heartworm disease is FATAL if left untreated. Heartworms damage the heart and blood vessels leading to heart failure. Your dog will develop a cough, progressive weakness, and eventually die.
5. Heartworm treatment is EXPENSIVE. The approved treatment is hard to get. You could buy a lifetime of heartworm preventative for the cost of treatment.
6. Heartworm treatment is DIFFICULT. Treatment involves lots of monitoring and extreme exercise restriction. It takes many months to cure heartworm disease, and only dogs who are caught in the early stages are likely to achieve a complete recovery.
7. Heartworm PREVENTION IS EASY. One flavored pill once a month.
8.Prevention is recommended YEAR ROUND, not only to improve efficacy and make sure it catches all mosquitoes, but also because it protects against infection from INTESTINAL PARASITES.
9.Heartworm testing helps detect infection early. Your dog could have heartworm WITHOUT SHOWING ANY SIGNS. If you catch it early you have the best chance at a successful treatment.
10. Heartworm Prevention purchased from your veterinarian (as opposed to an online pharmacy) is GUARANTEED. If your dog does contract heartworm disease and you’ve been purchasing your year round supply of preventative from us, the company will help cover the cost of treatment for your pet. Rebates help keep our prices competitive with and sometimes better than big retailers.


There are a lot of diseases we can’t prevent in our pets. Heartworm disease is one we can. And it’s easy. You just have to pull the pills out of the drawer and actually give them :)

Dr. Erika

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2 thoughts on “10 Facts About Heartworm

  • Braden Bills

    I want to make sure that my dog is healthy. I didn’t know that heartworm was such a big problem! I’ll see if I can get the pills necessary for him from the vet. I wouldn’t want to have to worry about him getting it.

  • Taylor Hicken

    I didn’t know that mosquitoes could transfer heart worms to other animals. I can’t imagine what I would do if my little pup were to get heart worm, I think that my whole family would become devastated. I’ll have to see if I can get a check-up with our vet, just to make sure that he’s worm free.