It is never pleasant for your veterinarian to break the news to you—your dog has heartworms. Immediately after you put your phone down, you might ask “how much does heartworm treatment cost?” Unfortunately, this deadly disease does not come cheap. The cost of heartworm treatments may range from $500 to $3,500.
Usually, Immiticide price falls on $300 to $1,000. The more severe the heartworm case is, the more expensive. Fortunately, animal insurance may cover heartworm treatments.
What’s Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease was once known as the disease of the Southern United States. However, this serious disease has spread all over USA. Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria Immitis. This disease may result to severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damages and even death in pets. Heartworm disease is known to plague dogs, cats and ferrets. This disease was given its name for the reason that the adult worms often reside in the heart of the definitive host, the animal. Additionally, an adult heartworm can reach up to 12 inches long. Adult heartworms will reproduce and release immature heartworms into the animal’s blood.
What Causes Heartworm Disease?
The main cause of heartworms are mosquitos—they spread the infective heartworm larvae and migrate from the mosquito bite through the animal’s body until they reach the heart and blood vessels. There is no other way of getting this disease except by mosquito. There are several factors that may increase your pet’s risk of getting heartworms and these are the following:
- Being a resident in endemic regions such as tropical areas
- Lack of prophylaxis to prevent infestation of heartworms
- Outdoor habitation
What If Your Dog Have Heartworms
When asking “how much does heartworm treatment cost?” it is also good to know what might happen to your pet if they continue to be affected by the disease.
In the initial stage, heartworms are asymptomatic which basically means there will be no symptoms—this is what makes this disease difficult to diagnose and treat early. After the heartworms have reproduced and invaded the animal’s organs, specifically heart and lungs, the affected animal will start showing signs such as coughing. Eventually, if still not treated at this stage, the heartworms will continue to clog the lungs and heart causing difficulty in breathing, lack of energy, loss of weight and loss of blood to its brain—this might lead to coma and unfortunately, death. Additionally, on the symptoms section below, you will find a discussion of the stages that your dog or animal will go through.
Symptoms Of Heartworm Disease
Before becoming concerned with Immiticide price, it is best to determine the signs and symptoms of this disease and if it is evident in your pet.
Heartworm disease, in dogs, has four stages. Understandably, the higher the stage, the worse the disease and in turn, symptoms will be more obvious.
- Stage 1 – In this stage, there will be little to no symptoms. Occasional cough is what is expected at this stage.
- Stage 2 – As the stage advances, occasional cough is paired with tiredness after activities of moderate level.
- Stage 3 – Here you will witness persistent cough and tiredness after very mild activities. There may also be signs of breathing difficulties.
- Stage 4 – At this point in time, caval syndrome has established—the burden of heavy worm will cause blockage of the blood flowing to the heart. Importantly, not all animals will have this syndrome; however, if it is left untreated, it will eventually lead to death.
Treatment For Heartworm Disease?
There are several treatments for heartworm disease. Ivermectin is a medication that prevents further heartworm infestation; it also kills immature heartworms but not adult ones. When it comes to battling with severe cases of infestation, Immiticide is used as it is strong enough to kill both immature and adult heartworms. Immiticide is far more expensive compared to Ivermectin as it also works better than other medications. Another drug, Advantage Multi which makes use of Imidacloprid and Moxidectin are used to get rid of immature heartworms in the dog’s bloodstream.
Additionally, multiple visits to the veterinarian is needed to do bloodwork, x-rays and injections. Sadly, treatment for heartworms may come with risks as serious complications such as blood clotting in the dog’s lungs may occur.
Ways To Prevent Heartworm Disease
You might ask, is there a way to avoid the cost of heartworm treatments. Luckily, there are ways to prevent heartworms from living inside your pet. You can always inquire about this with your veterinarian. There are plenty of products to prevent heartworms in dogs and other animals and these products include topical creams applied on the skin or taken as an oral tablet. Other preventive measures involve injection under the skin every 6 months. Moreover, the ingredients of these preventive may also be effective against other types of worms and parasites.
Perhaps, asking the question “how much does heartworm treatment cost?” is also quite unpleasant. However, as pet owners, we already treat our dogs and cats as family—making the cost of heartworm treatments much less of a concern compared to what might actually happen to our cats or dogs. Perhaps, Immiticide price is a pain in the pocket but we can all agree that nothing will be more painful than witnessing the death of our beloved best friend—our pet.