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Heartworms in Dogs: Facts and Myths

WebMD separates the facts from fiction about canine heartworms.
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But if there’s no way someone can afford the actual treatment, at least using the preventative on a monthly basis could be a lesser alternative.

 

Q: Can I skip giving my dog his preventative during colder months, when there aren’t any mosquitoes?

A: The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention. One reason is, there’s already a serious problem with people forgetting to give their dogs the heartworm preventatives. It’s a universal problem. Now if you use it year-round, and you miss a month, your dog will probably still be protected. But if you miss more than one or two months your dog could become infected.

The other reason not to stop is that many of the preventatives today also include an intestinal parasite control for roundworms, whipworms, or tapeworms. You want your dog to be protected against those at all times.

 

Q: If I don’t treat my dog with heartworms, will he “outgrow” his heartworms?

A: No. He stands a good chance of dying from the disease.

 

Q: I’ve heard the treatment for heartworms can be dangerous. Are there any newer, safer alternatives?

A: We used to use plain arsenic to treat it, which had many side effects. What we use now is a safer product with fewer side effects. It’s a safe product if used correctly.

 

Q: If my dog gets heartworms, and is treated for them, can he get them again?

A: Yes, he can get them again. That’s why prevention is so important. 

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Reviewed on December 16, 2011
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