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Heartworm Awareness Month - April 2019

Updated: Jul 14, 2020

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month.

The American Heartworm Society reports that heartworm is a serious canine and feline health concern. We take heartworm prevention seriously to protect all our four-legged companions. In honor of Heartworm Awareness Month we will be holding a raffle to win a FREE 4DX Snap test (expires within 1yr) and 6 months of heartworm prevention (Cats - Revolution / Dogs - Triheart, Interceptor or Proheart6).

To enter visit: and help us spread awareness. All participants will be entered in a random drawing and the winner will be announced 5/1/19.

For more information about heartworm visit:

If you have any concerns for your pet we would be happy to discuss them. Don't hesitate to call us at 508-475-5051!

Heartworm disease is a serious risk to your dog. Heartworms are parasites that live in your dog’s heart and pulmonary vessels. Adults can grow to 1 -2 feet in length and live an average of 5-7 years. It is not uncommon to find more than 30 worms in an infected dog. When left untreated, infected dogs will eventually develop heart disease and failure

Transmission of heartworm disease is through mosquitoes. The microfilaria (baby heartworms) are injected into your dog when a mosquito bites, so even a dog that is not outdoors a lot can still be infected—it only takes a single mosquito bite.  From there the larva migrate from the skin though tissues and eventually mature into an adult heartworm that resides in the heart. The maturation process takes 6 months, so prevention focuses on killing the immature worms BEFORE they become adults.  Once heartworms become adults they are very difficult to kill. The only effective drug is an arsenic derived compound and the dying worms in the heart can cause significant damage to the lungs and even death. It is both more costly and risky to kill adults compared to prevention.

Prevention is easy, safe and effective. We start puppies on heartworm prevention at their first pediatric visit, but testing is usually first done at the 1 year visit.

Testing for heartworm disease is recommended yearly starting at the 1st year Canine Adult Wellness Exam. At Healthy Paws we use the 4DX snap®test which not only tests for adult heartworms, but also tests for exposure to Lyme disease, Anaplamosis, and Ehrlichia- the latter three are bacterial diseases carried and transmitted by ticks. By testing annually, we not only get important information on exposure to ticks and the common tick related diseases, but also make sure none of our patients go undiagnosed with heartworm disease should a failure with the preventive occur.

Author/Graphic: Meghan Lauro

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