Heartworm Medication for Dogs

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Heartworm medication for dogs is given to them once a month to kill off any baby worms that may exist in the animal's heart, though the medication does not kill of adult heartworms. Understand the importance of keeping a pet up to date on heartworm prevention with helpful information from an experienced veterinarian in this free video on pet care.

Part of the Video Series: Canine Diseases & Treatment
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Video Transcript

Let's talk about heartworm medication in dogs. Heartworm medication should always be used through the direction of your veterinary clinic. Those medications, and there are several, can be either topical or oral. So let's talk a little bit about what the oral medications are, and what they do. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, and so the mosquitoes carry a small larval form of heartworm. It gets into the bloodstream of the dog, it goes through changes over months and grows into an adult heartworm, which lives in the heart, in the vessels. And so what that does over time is cause heart failure, and so it's very important to treat your dog monthly with heartworm medication to prevent them. So these medications, what they do, they're essentially dewormers. So you give them once a month on the oral side of things, and what those do is kill off sometimes intestinal parasites, and control intestinal parasites, like roundworms and hookworms, but essentially killing off baby heartworms that are trying to grow into adults. Now the important thing to know is these medications, the monthly medications do not kill adult heartworms. So if your dog has adult heartworms, they have to go through a much more intensive therapy, and it can be costly, and it's not very easy sometimes on the animals because they have to be rested and there can be side effects, so it's very important to keep your dogs on heartworm medication monthly, because this disease can be fatal if left untreated.

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