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What is heartworm?

Heartworms are parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. They circulate in the bloodstream and make their home in your dog's heart. If left untreated, heartworm can cause serious complications and may even prove fatal for your dog. While treatments are available, they are costly and can be painful for your dog. The best way to treat heartworm is to prevent your dog from getting it in the first place. A comprehensive set of guidelines for the prevention and treatment of heartworm disease has been developed by the American Heartworm Society (AHS).

How to prevent heartworm

Heartworm is much easier and more cost effective to prevent than it is to treat. There are a variety of options available to pet owners including topical, oral, and injectable preventatives. A discussion with your veterinarian is the best way to determine what type of preventative is best for you and your dog. The American Heartworm Society and the American Animal Hospital Association, along with our own veterinarians recommend yearly testing to ensure your dog is heartworm free. Early detection is key in the treatment of canine heartworm disease.

We’re in Colorado, does my pet need to be on prevention year round?

Yes! Even in Colorado, dogs are recommended to be kept on continuous heartworm prevention, no matter the season. There are a number of reasons for this. Our state is beautiful, which means we have a greater rate of tourism, including families who include their dogs on their vacation. As well, Colorado is a state that is lucky to have high rates of adoption; rescues often bring in dogs from out of state to be adopted by our dog-loving community. An infected dog may be bitten by a mosquito here in Colorado; that same mosquito may then bite your dog next. It only takes one mosquito to pass heartworm from one infected dog to another that is not on preventatives. With our seasonal uncertainties, one warm day could spell disaster for your pup.

American Heartworm Society's Mosquito Mayhem - 5 Facts about Mosquitos, Heartworms, and your Pets.

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