Skip to content

Heartworm Treatment and Preventatives

The Heartworm Basics

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that can affect dogs and cats of all ages and breeds. The disease is caused by the parasitic roundworm Dirofilaria immitis, which is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Once inside the pet's body, the worms can grow up to 12 inches long and live in the heart and lungs for as long as seven years. By keeping an eye out for symptoms such as coughing, fatigue, weight loss, and difficulty breathing, you may be able to spot this disease in your pet early. But, keep in mind, heartworm can also be present without any visible signs.
Prevention is the best way to win the fight against heartworm disease. There are several options available, including monthly oral or topical medications and injections. It's important to have your dog or cat tested annually for heartworm disease, as early detection can greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. If left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal, so it's important to be proactive.

Heartworm Prevention

Scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian, administering preventative medication as directed, and potentially even keeping your pets indoors during peak mosquito hours are all ways you can help to prevent heartworm.
Did you know? Mixlab carries a wide range of heartworm preventatives so that you can stay confident that your pet is protected year round.
Here are a few of the heartworm preventatives we offer:
  • Trifexis chewable tablets
  • Tri-Heart Plus chewable tablets
  • Heartgard Plus chewable tablets
  • Interceptor Plus chewable tablets
  • Sentinel flavor tablets
  • Revolution and Revolution Plus Topical
  • Simparica Trio chewable tablets

Heartworm Treatment

Heartworm can be fatal if left untreated. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may experience secondary health conditions like congestive heart failure, where excess fluid fills the abdomen and blocks blood flow within the heart. Once a pet has been diagnosed with heartworm disease, treatment is necessary to rid the body of the parasites, prevent further damage to the heart and lungs, and save the animal's life.
One of the most common treatments for heartworm disease is a series of injections that contain a medication called melarsomine. These injections are given over a period of several weeks and work by killing the adult heartworms in the pet's body. In some cases, additional medications may be prescribed to address any secondary infections or complications caused by the heartworm infestation. Some heartworm treatment side effects can include the following:
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Collapse
  • Soreness and swelling at the injection site
  • Excessive panting
  • Worsening cough
  • Respiratory distress
  • Abscess at the injection site
Following treatment, pets need to be closely monitored by you and your veterinarian to ensure that the heartworms have been successfully eliminated and to address any ongoing health concerns. Pets may also need to undergo additional testing to assess the health of their heart and lungs and to determine if any long-term damage has occurred. This treatment can be difficult, expensive, and potentially ineffective, so a focus on prevention is the best avenue. As a pet owner, you should work closely with your veterinarian to develop a heartworm prevention plan that includes regular testing and the use of preventative medications to protect your pet from heartworm disease.

Mixlab Can Help

Mixlab is a full service pet pharmacy that is passionate about not only keeping your furry friend safe and happy, but also providing you with the best possible pet med experience. We offer a wide range of custom compound and commercial medications, and delivery is always free! Experience our five-star customer service for yourself—ask your veterinarian how Mixlab can help today.