Some pet parents are under the impression that the less medications they give their pet, the better. After all, haven’t wolves survived in the wild for thousands of years without being fussed over with pills and other treatments? The truth is that on average, wolves have shorter lifespans than domesticated dogs as a result of injuries, diseases, and parasites, many of which we are lucky enough to be able to prevent in our four-legged friends.
One of conditions that we can prevent in our pets is heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is a life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. If you live in a colder climate or one with fewer mosquitos, you might wonder if it’s really worth it to protect your dog. The American Heartworm Society says that yes, all pets should be protected regardless of where they live.
But why, exactly? Here are 3 good reasons to give your dog heartworm medication.
1. Heartworm Disease is Life-Threatening
Heartworms reside in the pulmonary arteries of pets and in later stages of the disease they can migrate to the lungs and other organs, causing serious damage. Without prompt treatment, your dog may exhibit breathing issues (such as coughing and shortness of breath), inactivity, loss of oxygen (which can cause collapse), and permanent and irreversible organ damage.
In some cases a dog will die suddenly without exhibiting any symptoms, but in others the disease can progress over several years and the dog may eventually succumb to heart failure, blood clots, bleeding in the lungs, or other some other complication. This is no way for Fido to go, especially if it can be prevented by giving your dog heartworm medication.
2. Treating Heartworm Disease Is More Expensive Than Giving Your Dog Heartworm Medication
Preventing heartworm disease is much safer and much less costly than treating it, especially if you are using a prescription savings plan like PetPlus. For example, protecting your dog with Heartgard could cost as little as $4 a month, whereas treatment for the disease can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 according to the American Animal Hospital Association.
3. Many Heartworm Medications Also Prevent Other Parasites
Aside from heartworms, there are other parasites that can enter your dog’s body and cause serious complications. In some cases, our dogs may even be able to pass these nasty parasites on to us — eek! Fortunately, many heartworm medications also protect dogs from other parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and fleas.