Heartworm disease is still a serious and potentially fatal disease in dogs (and occasionally cats) in the United States. Northeast Texas remains a real hotspot for this deadly parasite due to the year round mosquito population in this part of the state. It is caused by a foot long "worm" (yup, up to 14" in length and the diameter of a pencil lead) that lives in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of infested animals. It can lead to severe lung disease, heart disease and will cause damage to other organs and systems, especially the kidney. Because it is also a parasite of wild dogs, coyotes and foxes, we have an incredible reservoir of infestation in our part of the world.
There are several heartworm preventives available for your dog (we sell Revolution as preferred preventive for cats).
All of these drugs are valuable in the prevention of this deadly parasite. None of these products are 100% and it's important to us that all clients realize this. Unfortunately, there are no 100% pharmaceuticals in veterinary or human medicine. Resistance to all preventive products is, of course, an ever increasing problem and very well publicized. Still, at 98% plus effectiveness the products listed above are certainly essential to your pet's health.
"Westridge continues to recommend twice yearly testing for your dogs even if on preventive."
Tests for heartworms are increasingly sensitive and because of the resistance cited above, Westridge continues to recommend twice yearly testing for your dogs even if on preventive. This gives us greatest surveillance accuracy for your pets, so as to quickly rid them of any worms that penetrate the protection given by these products.
Unfortunately, these drugs, like all human drugs, seem to increase in price constantly. Westridge will always strive to keep our prices as low as we possibly can. Regardless of price, it is always cheaper than treatment and of course, it is not hard on your pet like heartworm treatment. Treatment has advanced immeasurably but still involves a form of chemo that kills the worm without killing the pet (please do not fall for "slow treatment" options).
For further information, we encourage clients to go to the American Heartworm Society website (https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics) which will constantly give you the most recent information concerning heartworm, its prevention and treatment. As always, please contact Westridge with questions concerning this or any other pet medical questions!
Dr. Murray, Dr. Burns, and Dr. Morgan will share some of their knowledge on subjects that most pet owners have questions about!