Every year, hundreds of pets are infected with heartworm in our corner of Louisiana, thanks to our temperate climate and sizeable mosquito population. It takes just one bite from a mosquito to transmit deadly heartworm to your pet. As the name suggests, heartworms live in the heart, and they can also thrive in the lungs and blood vessels. Because they constrict blood flow, they can damage internal organs and cause lung disease and heart failure. Treatment for heartworm is harsh and expensive for dogs. There is no cure for cats. Year-round prevention is your pet’s best defense.
Prevention begins with annual heartworm testing. Once we establish that your pet is free of heartworm, we can recommend a safe and effective preventative medication based on your pet’s size, breed, age, and lifestyle.
Preventatives come in a variety of forms, including:
- All-in-one chews that guard against fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms
- Yearly injectables
- Monthly chewables
Need to schedule a heartworm test for your best friend or stock up on heartworm prevention? Give us a call at (318) 686-5945.
If your dog does become heartworm positive, we can provide safe and effective treatment. First, we do a risk assessment based on tests that determine how many worms are present as well as the dog’s size and age, other concurrent health factors and the severity of the heart disease.
Current treatment protocol calls for, in most dogs, pre-adulticide treatment with a heartworm preventive (macrocyclic lactones) and doxycycline, as well as three injections of melarsomine to kill the adult worms that threaten the infected dog's life and long-term health. We use Immiticide for fast-kill and Imoxi (and pred/doxy – both) for slow kill.
Keeping your dog quiet and calm is crucial during heartworm treatment. If your dog’s heart rate rises during treatment, you put him at risk of developing potentially life-threatening blood clots.
But how do you battle your dog's boredom for the months-long prescribed treatment period? The best way to keep a dog still is to make sure his mind is engaged even when his body can’t handle active play.