Heartworm disease occurs when infected mosquitoes inject larvae into a dog’s bloodstream. After four to six months the larvae develop into adult worms which grow up to 26cm (10″) long, and live inside the dog’s heart and pulmonary arteries. The only treatment is the use of arsenic, but this is not always successful. 65% of Australian dogs live in high-risk areas, so unless your dog is on preventative therapy, it could contract heartworm disease and die.
Daily tablets can be given, but these have to be given at the same time every day and are easy to forget. Monthly doses have the advantage of killing other worms such as hookworm and roundworm, and they also help to prevent fleas. However compliance rates are low with monthly treatments, and people tend to use them for a few months and then stop.
Heartworm Control Breakthrough
The world’s first once-a-year heartworm preventative is given by a simple injection under the skin, and fully protects dogs from heartworm for twelve months. It can be safely used with other medications, and so it can be administered at the same time as your dog has its annual vaccinations for parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis.
The new once a year product (ProHeart® SR-12 Injection) is available from your veterinarian. This product is suitable for dogs 6 months of age and older. The cost varies according to the weight of the dog, but it is roughly equivalent to 12 months supply of a monthly heartworm preventative.