Heartworm Prevention Keeps Dogs Healthy
Warmer weather brings along an increased risk that dogs will be exposed to deadly heartworm diseases, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. The diseases put as many as 63 million dogs at risk who go without proper treatment.
Studies released by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Heartworm Society (AHS), estimate tens of millions of dogs are not on a heartworm preventative, leaving them needlessly at risk to this potentially fatal disease. Canine heartworm disease is a serious and life-threatening parasitic condition in which immature heartworms migrate to the heart and lungs where they develop into adults and cause disease.
The American Animal Hospital Association's (AAHA) "Compliance in Companion Animal Practices" study revealed 66 percent of the nation's dogs were not given heartworm preventatives according to veterinary or label recommendations, despite the fact that 81 percent of all dogs reside in states where heartworm disease is prevalent.
A recent national survey of veterinary clinics, released by the American Heartworm Society (AHS), reported nearly 250,000 positive heartworm tests, which was much higher than expected in light of advancements in prevention.
While most veterinarians recommend year-round protection, a Gallup survey found that dogs on preventatives receive it on average fewer than six months of the year. Other industry studies have shown that as many as 80 percent of dog owners who purchase monthly heartworm preventatives do not give them on time according to label directions, which seriously compromises the dog's protection.
With heartworm infection, dogs can suffer severe heart and pulmonary damage, dysfunction of the kidney and liver, and death. Treatment for heartworm infection is a long, risky and an expensive procedure.