Heartworm in dogs; Guide for Natural prevention of Heartworm
- Heartworm in dogs; Guide for Natural prevention of Heartworm
- Why we don’t use chemical spot-on treatments & the best natural flea prevention for dogs and cats
What is Heartworm in dogs?
As the weather warms up in some parts of Canada, most dog owners start thinking of heartworm in dogs and by extension prevention of heartworm. However, what is heartworm?
Heartworm is a disease that results in primarily heart and lung failure mostly in dogs. Cats are not natural hosts for the worms (i.e. most worms do not develop into adults in cats). When an infected mosquito bites a dog, it transmits these parasitic worms. These parasitic worms in adult form live primarily in the heart and lungs of the infected animal and as such the name “heartworm.” The disease is not contagious meaning that your dog can’t get it from being next to another dog. The transmission of the parasitic heartworm is only through mosquito bites.
Heartworm in dogs occurs in these conditions
When a mosquito bites an infected dog, the mosquito becomes infected with the parasite. The parasite evolves from a microfilarae into infective larvae.
The next stages all happen in the mosquito. In order for the larvae to develop (Stage L-1 to L-3) in the mosquito, the temperature must not go below 14 C for at least two weeks. If at any point the temperature drops, the process is halted. Full development cannot occur if the temperature is not above 18 C for at least two weeks. This means it could be a cumulative of 1 month at those temperatures for development in the mosquito.
Do we have heartworm in Canada?
What do you need to do to prevent heartworm?
What are the side effects of Heartworm medication for dogs?
Why is all this detail NOT provided by the American Heartworm Society?
What should you do for Heartworm prevention for your dogs?
Note that heartworm medications are insecticides that kill only the larvae and not the heartworm. The treatment for heartworm is different. We however prefer using the following natural approaches to prevent heartworm disease:
- Use blood testing (DNA testing is more effective according to Dr. Dobias) to screen for any presence of heartworm before using heartworm preventatives at least once a year.
- Talk to your holistic vet about homeopathic treatments or heartworm medications which do not include unnecessary dewormers.
- If you’d like to use heartworm medications, Dr. Dobias suggests every 3 to 4 months in hot temperatures. Other vets suggest about 6 to 8 weeks if the conditions are right.
- You could also consider using the lowest effective dose according to another holistic vet.
- Look into natural herbal repellent collars or herbal spot on treatments that have Geranium Oil or citronella.
- These are also effective flea and tick repellents. Note that essential oils can be toxic to cats if ingested. Just because it is natural does not mean it should be dabbed on your animal.
- At Moonlight Dog Cafe, we’ve got several options of the herbal repellent collars and natural spot-on treatments formulated by a holistic vet for your pet’s safety.
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