Heartworm Disease

Yes there is!!! Historically heartworm disease was not as prevalent in Colorado as in other areas of the country. In the last 10 years this has dramatically changed. As the population of the Front Range grows, families move here with their pets from all over the country, sometimes bringing diseases that were not previously seen in Colorado. In addition, many pets were rescued from Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath and brought to other areas of the country, including the Front Range. Louisiana has one of the highest incidences of heartworm disease in the country. Dr. Miller, veterinarian at Rising Sun Animal Care, has diagnosed multiple cases of heartworm positive dogs in the past year. Rising Sun currently has two patients undergoing treatment for heartworm disease.

Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in a dog (or cat’s) heart. These worms cause damage to the heart and vessels, and lead to irreversible damage that can be deadly to your pet. The larva (baby worms) are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is much, much easier (and cheaper) to prevent heartworm disease then treatment. Treatment consists of an intramuscular injection of arsenic to kill the worms, with months of confinement to a small kennel, and cost thousands of dollars. A simple blood test is all that is needed to diagnose the presence of heartworms. If your canine friend is negative, heartworm disease can be prevented with a variety of medications, most of which are available as a monthly chewable treat which costs $5-9 a month, depending on the size of your dog.