Preventing heartworm disease as mosquitos arrive

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 11:22 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As the heat sets in, mosquitos will follow, and with it, the risk of heartworm disease in dogs.

Dr. Kristin Sullivan said dogs with heartworms walk through her hospital daily, and the culprit is quite familiar in the south.

“A lot of mosquitos in this area, so just due to that fact alone and due to a lot of dogs not being on preventative,” Sullivan explained. “We see a ton of that.”

According to the American Heartworm Society, Arkansas ranks among the highest in cases of heartworm disease.

Jenny Sullivan’s rottweiler, Moses, is a patient of ARPets. Even though her dog doesn’t deal with heartworms, she knows how dangerous it is.

“I know people that their pets have had heartworms, and it can be a very costly experience,” she said.

Even with preventative measures, some strains still manage to infect canines, but Dr. Sullivan said many owners who pay for heartworm prevention have one less worry.

“A lot of times, the company will help pay for that treatment, which is outstanding, so if we do have a resistant strain, it’s not just put, you know, all that cost on the owner, who has done what they could have done to prevent the disease,” she added.

The American Heartworm Society recommends testing your dog at least once a year, staying consistent in giving your dog a heartworm preventative, and making sure the medicine is heartworm preventative. The costs of not doing so can be in the thousands and taxing on dogs.

“We’re talking a full workup to make sure that their heart and their lungs are healthy enough to even undergo the process; we’re talking about serious restrictions,” she said.

That process is what Jenny Sullivan is trying to prevent.

“Pets are just like a family member; you do anything to keep them well,” she said.