The thought of our canine companions having worms is more than disgusting, especially when the parasite is deadly. It becomes even more scary if treatments to keep dogs safe don't work, or become unavailable.
Heartworm, a type of roundworm parasite, was first identified in 1922 and are found all around the world. Although they can affect cats, they are particularly fond of dogs. This parasite Dirofilaria immitis lives in the right heart chambers and lungs and causes severe damage and even death.
While preventive is cheap and widely available, recently there have been questions about "drug failures" and parasite resistance to the medication. That's scary if you think your dog is protected and he gets sick anyway. Even more scary, the only FDA approved drug to treat heartworms has gone AWOL--learn more about canine heartworm disease in my latest Paw Nation article update.
Thanks once again to Gina Misiroglu and the whole Red Room team for connecting me with the pet-people at Paw Nation to shine a light on all the great authors here!
For those of you with puppies, don't think they're immune. The American Heartworm Society recommends starting your fur-kids on preventive by age 6-8 weeks and keeping them on it year round. Yes, I said ALL YEAR LONG, even if you don't think mosquitoes are a risk. Here's an article with all the puppy-specifics of heartworms. And for those picky dogs who refuse to eat even the chewable tasty medications--and no, I did NOT taste 'em myself!--you may want to review these tips on how to pill your dog.
Woofs & Wags,
Causes Amy Shojai Supports
Cat Writers Association, Winn Feline Foundation, AKC Canine Health Foundation, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)