Let's Talk About Heartworm

Biting insects. You can’t live with them, you can’t live…….with them.
They are the cause of disease transmission worldwide, and in our beautiful neck of the woods this means serious business. Lyme disease is epidemic on Cape Cod and it is transmitted through the bite of an insect (an arachnid if you want to get technical). So is Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and now this new tick borne disease Borrelia miyamotoi. Let’s not get started on EEE and West Nile Virus which are both transmitted by mosquitoes. The only way to protect ourselves from these diseases is to avoid being bitten by ticks and mosquitos! What could be easier.  Right?

Imagine for a moment that there was a pill you could take monthly that would prevent you from getting an insect borne illness. You would take it, wouldn’t you. If you were going on Safari in Africa and your physician prescribed Malaria pills for you, would you take them? Of course you would – because nothing ruins a vacation like getting Malaria. And you wouldn’t buy your Malaria pills from some on-line warehouse distributor because they are cheaper. You would buy them from a pharmacy that keeps medication at the appropriate temperature, makes sure they are not expired, and guarantees that they come from a reputable source. Because getting Malaria is no joke. You get really sick. The treatment for it takes a long time and you could have a chronic condition as a result.
Well, folks, there is a magic pill that prevents your dog from getting one of the many diseases transmitted by insects – Heartworm Disease. And just like Malaria, getting Heartworm Disease is no joke. Your dog gets really sick. The treatment is very costly and takes a long time. You dog could have a chronic condition as a result.
In the past year we have seen several cases of Heartworm infection here at Oceanside Animal Hospital – two of these patients have come from local families who are compliant, wonderful caregivers. Both of these dogs contracted the disease right here – in Sandwich Massachusetts. They were not adopted from the south. They did not go on vacation to Alabama. Both dogs had to undergo lengthy, expensive, and risky treatments that limited their activity for months.
One case contracted the disease simply because the medication was not given year round as recommended. The other patient contracted the disease because the family bought medication on-line without a prescription and it was not effective.  Most people do not realize that if heartworm medication is purchased through their veterinarian and given appropriately, that the manufacturers stand by their product and actually pay for heartworm treatment if their dog gets the disease.  Not the case if you are buying online through a website – no quality control on storage and where these medications are coming from means no guarantee the medications are going to be effective to protect your dog.
So please, PLEASE. It’s so easy. Get your dog tested for Heartworm Disease annually. Give them their monthly preventative medication as prescribed by their doctor. And buy this medication from a reputable source. If you need to have your Heartworm Medication mailed to you monthly, and your dog is a patient of ours, go to Oceanside Animal Hospital’s on-line pharmacy and set yourself up to have individual doses auto-shipped directly to you. This medication will come directly from the medical distributor that we purchase our hospital supplies through so you have peace of mind that the medication you are giving your dog is the same exact medication that we would sell to you right here at the hospital.
And then let your dog enjoy the Cape Cod evening weather, when temps are cooler and the mosquitoes are out. But remember to spray yourself with repellent before you play outside with them because there is no magic pill to protect you from the mosquito borne illnesses present in Massachusetts.
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