April is National Heartworm Month, and we want to make sure our pack members are educated on the potential dangers of heartworm medication, and what we recommend for an alternative. First, let’s start by explaining how heartworms develop and thrive.
How are heartworms spread?
Heartworms are spread from animal to animal via mosquitoes and end up living in the heart and pulmonary arteries of infected animals. The disease can lead to heart failure, as well as damage to other organs. Many pet owners are apt to continually go to their vet for heartworm preventative, but there are some important factors to consider first.
Before you give heartworm preventative, a few things to know
- The life cycle of a heartworm is very much dependent on temperature, which must be be 57 degrees F or higher for more than 45 days and two weeks over 80 F for complete development. If these conditions aren’t met, your dog is very likely safe without a heartworm preventative or testing.
- Based on the recommendations of Dr David Knight and Dr James Lok from the American Heartworm Society, even with the most cautious conventional medical protocols, the year-round heartworm preventative schedule is unnecessary with the exception of Florida and some parts of Texas and Hawaii. Especially since pets with healthy immune systems are not generally susceptible to developing heartworm disease.
- Instead of giving heartworm treatment, you can instead have your pet tested for heartworms regularly to avoid the harmful medications altogether.
Side effects of many heartworm medications:
Here are just some of the adverse events from dog and cat owners that have been reported to the FDA:
- General weakness
- Vomiting or weight loss
- Increased thirst and urination
- Loose stool or diarrhea
- Trouble walking or staggering
- Convulsions, muscle tremors or seizures
- Difficulty breathing
- Rare instances of death
What you can do instead
We recommend trying Amber Naturals “HWF – Clean Heart” as an alternative to heartworm preventative.
Now that you have a better understanding of heartworms and treatment, we hope you’ll think more holistic for your pets and avoid harmful chemicals. Still have questions about heartworm prevention? Contact us today!