Heartworm, or Dirofilaria Immitis, is an unwanted parasite that must be taken seriously given where it's located in the body. Cases of heartworm are diagnosed every year in Quebec because it can be spread through a simple bite from an infected mosquito. Pets that travel to other regions or countries are at even greater risk of developing heartworm if they're not properly protected.
How can I protect my pet from heartworms?
The first step in keeping your pet safe is to get an annual blood test at our veterinary clinic. If your pet is already infected with heartworm, we can't give them the preventive treatment without causing serious side effects. We then analyze the test in our on-site lab and quickly process the results.
To make sure your pet is fully protected, you'll need to apply follow-up preventive antiparasitic treatments once a month during the warm periods of the year (when there are more mosquitoes), from about June to November. These antiparasitics destroy the worm larvae before they reach the adult stage and can reproduce throughout your pet's body.
What can be done if the test is positive? Are there effective treatments?
With today's veterinary advancements, there are now curative treatments for pets infected with heartworm. However, these treatments pose risks due to the location of the worms and can be taxing for pets. They're also very expensive. Every situation is different and will be thoroughly evaluated. Prevention and annual screening are your best bet in fighting this disease.