You cannot be a dog lover and not be concerned about heartworms. North Carolina's warm climate is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which transmit heartworm. Once a dog is infected, worms quickly develop in the heart and major blood vessels.
"They can be as much as a few inches to 12 inches to a few feet in length," says veterinarian Dr. John Santilli.
Owners usually give their dogs heartworm chews once a month to prevent the disease. Now there is Proheart 6 -- an injectable heartworm medication. Unlike chews, you bring your dog to the veterinarian twice a year for treatment.
"We take the product and administer it under the skin once every six months, and it protects the dog for six months against heartworm," Santilli says.
Some dog owners like Leslie Couch like the convenience of the injections.
"They just send me a reminder card every six months to come back and get it," she says.
The price is about the same as what you spend on the chewables.
"It's very comparable to the six-month supply of pills," Couch says.
Both treatments are nearly 100 percent effective, so no matter which one you choose, you know your furry pal is protected. Since heartworm is so common in North Carolina, heartworm prevention is recommended even if your dog stays inside most of the time.
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