Heartworm, the cure can be deadly, too


If you visit your vet regularly, they've no doubt urged you to get your pet on heartworm preventative.

Every dog is at risk- and it's not just the heartworm- but the treatment available that could be potentially deadly for your pet.

Buddy Love, a current resident at the Humane Society of Genesee County has heartworm. He will have to finish a very involved treatment before he can go to a fur-ever home.

Infected mosquitoes spread heartworm, which basically attaches itself to the back of the heart. Left untreated. heartworm will kill a dog.

Unfortunately, as Lin Holmes of the HSGC tells me, the only available treatment could also prove deadly, "It's hard on their heart because you have to bascially put poison in them to kill off those heartworms."

After two injections over the course of two days, the danger isn't over. Dogs have to spend several weeks with very restricted activity and no exercise, while the drugs work to kill the heartworm, "Because you can have large parts of that that can actually break loose and kill the dog."

The Humane Society heartworm tests every dog that comes in. During an average year, they'll get back 20 positive results. Heartworm treatment runs around a thousand dollars per dog.

"Sometimes we'll have five or six dogs in the shelter that are heartworm positive, and that we are trying to get treatment for," Lin says.

Heartworm is not just a disease found in strays. Because mosquitoes carry it, Lin says, every dog is at risk. "There really isn't a particular age they come in positive."

Fortunately, there is a simple way to protect your pet with heartworm preventative tablets, or liquids. Most come in monthly doseages. It's a small price to pay for a healthy best friend.

Aong with heartworm preventative, it's also good to have your pet on flea and tick preventative, especially if they are going to spend any time outdoors.

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