Dog health: Heartworm prevention naturally
What is Heartworm Disease?
It’s getting to that time for dog heartworm prevention. 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). These worms are transmitted when an infected mosquito bites a dog.
Do we have heartworm in Canada?
Heartworm disease occurs in these conditions
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.
Do you need to stay on a monthly drug regiment?
What are the side effects of Heartworm medication?
Why is all this detail NOT provided by the American Heartworm Society?
What should you do for Heartworm prevention?
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.