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Why Your Dog Should Receive Regular Heartworm Testing

Posted on April 14, 2023 by Misty Fleming

Heartworm testing for dogs

One of the most common canine healthcare issues that concern dog owners is heartworm infection – and for a good reason. Heartworms can easily become a life-threatening condition for dogs. This week we’ll examine why your dog should receive regular heartworm testing and prevention measures.

Heartworm Testing for Your Dog

There is only one way to ensure that you catch a case of heartworm before it becomes lethal to your dog: regular heartworm testing from your dog’s veterinary care provider. For most dogs, you should have your vet perform a heartworm test as part of a routine examination once per year. However, testing every six months may be preferable, depending on your dog’s lifestyle and mosquito exposure (the chief vector of heartworm transmission).

Heartworm Prevention for Dogs

Besides annual or six-month heartworm testing, preventative treatment is the next most important tool for keeping your dog safe from heartworms. Multiple heartworm treatment products are on the market, and your veterinarian can help you choose the one that’s right for your dog. There are three main types of heartworm prevention treatments:

  • Monthly oral preventives: These medications are given orally once a month and come in flavored chewable tablets. They work by killing the heartworm larvae your dog may have been exposed to the previous month. Examples include Heartgard and Interceptor.
  • Monthly topical preventives: These medications are applied topically to the skin once a month, usually between the dog’s shoulder blades. They also work by killing heartworm larvae your dog may have been exposed to the previous month. Examples include Revolution and Advantage Multi.
  • Injectable preventives: These medications are given by injection every six months and provide long-lasting protection against heartworms. Examples include ProHeart 6 and Moxidectin.

Regular heartworm prevention is immensely superior compared to the complications and cost of heartworm treatment after infection. We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian about regular heartworm testing and prevention for your dog.

More About Dog Care

For more reading on dog care, check out our recent blog on the risks of eating bugs for your dog:

Is It Safe for Dogs to Eat Bugs?

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