Here are some true and false myths surrounding heartworm infection!
Humans can get heartworm from pets
False! Heartworm only affects dogs, cats and other mammals. It is very rarely that a human can become infected, and if they do the effects are mild.
One pet will infect my other pets!
False! Infection occurs through mosquito bites. Even if your infected dog was bitten by a mosquito that then bit your non-infected dog or cat the heartworm would not have undergone enough time to incubate in the mosquito to infect other animals.
I cannot stop my dog getting heartworm
False! As the owner, you have all the power to stop an infection. Monthly pills, topical treatments and annual injections are some methods of prevention. Discuss a heartworm prevention programme with your vet.
I can’t tell if my dog has heartworm
True! Symptoms are hard to see at first. But as the infection gets worse and more worms croud the lungs and heart you’ll notice signs, such as fatigue, breathlessness, abnormal lung sounds, dizziness and eventually death.
Prevention is cheaper than treatment!
True! For less than a cup of coffee you can prevent your pet from getting heartworm. If your pet becomes infected the cost of treatment includes things such as x-rays, blood testing and the actual treatment and care of your pet as they stay in the pet hospital. This is costly and the treatment can be dangerous. Your vet will also advise your pet stay quiet for a few months as the heartworms die and break up.
I can start my dog/cat on prevention now
False! You will need to visit your vet for a heartworm test before heartworm prevention can be started. This is safe practice for pets.
If my dog is infected I can give him monthly prevention tablets to kill the heartworms
False! In the time it takes for the prevention tablets to work (which can be about 2 years) the heartworms in your dog or cat’s body will still be doing damage.
My dog doesn’t need heartworm prevention during colder months
False! If you forget to give your pets heartworm prevention for more than a month they can become infected. Also, many of today’s heartworm preventions also include intestinal worm prevention, such as roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm. Colder months don’t make a difference to these parasites!
Will heartworms go away if I don’t treat them
False! They will eventually cause death to your furry friend.
Pets can get heartworm more than once
True! If your pet is infected and treated he or she can get them again so it is always important to keep up that prevention!