#6: Giving doses late, missing doses, or not knowing that a dose needs to be given every month.
One of the most common mistakes that a pet parent can make is forgetting to administer their pet’s monthly heartworm dose. Although many products have efficacy for four weeks and will kill exposure to heartworm via mosquito transmission for up to two weeks old, the maximum efficacy is achieved when the product is given monthly (or every six months if your pet is on an injectable product) and when given it is entirety.
“Giving monthly heartworm prevention is the easiest way to avoid mistakes,” Liff said. “If monthly dosing is too difficult to remember, ask your vet about other options or sign up for reminder programs provided by the manufacturer of the heartworm preventative.” Giving doses late, missing doses or not knowing that a dose needs to be given every month can leave pets at risk for contracting heartworms. “Remember, there is no region of the country that is heartworm free – it has been diagnosed in all 50 states,” Roswell added.
Some signs that can signal that your pet has been infected by a mosquito carrying heartworm include difficulty breathing, coughing, tiredness, reduced appetite, weight loss, vomiting, gagging and lung, liver, kidney, or heart failure – which can lead to death. Most pets with heartworm do not show any symptoms until the disease becomes severe, which can take weeks or even months to develop. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms, and especially if your pet is not currently on heartworm medication or if he or she hasn’t been tested for heartworm yet within the past year.