"Heartworm Treatment, Heartgard An Option?...
Heartworms are a potentially life threatening ailment for both dogs and cars. Once heartworms are diagnosed, a variety of treatment methods may be used including medications like Heartgard and sometimes arsenic based medications are used to kill the adult heartworms.
The best method of fighting heartworms is through prevention with a monthly regimen of a heartworm medication like Heartgard. Heartgard is an FDA approved heartworm preventative and treatment. Heartgard taken monthly as directed by a veterinarian is proven to virtually eliminate the risk of heartworm infestations in dogs.
For a dog that has early stage to advanced heartworms, Heartgard is used for treatment because of its effectiveness at killing the larval stage of the parasite and because it stops the further development of adult heartworms.
Heartworms Are a Serious Ailment
Heartworm infection is a serious ailment that has four stages of infection. Treatment methods outside of ivermectin treatment are expensive and not simple. Heartworms may be treated through a variety of methods by a professional veterinarian. Heartworms are often treated with expensive arsenic based medications that may not themselves be safe for the dog. At the stage of heartworm infection, it comes down to what treatment plan is the safest for the dog and also available to the owner.
For the early stages of heartworm progression, a veterinarian may prescribe Heartgard by itself as a way to control the infestation, prevent further spread of the disease, and keep adult heartworms from reproducing. Heartgard alone can be effective at doing this for a dog with early stage heartworm disease.
Even with advanced stage heartworm disesase, a veterinarian will still often prescribe Heartgard to be used as a treatment before adult worms are treated. The reason that Heartgard is used first is because most veterinarians prefer to kill off the L3 and L4 heartworm larvae. If the adult heartworms are removed or killed off first before the immature migrating larvae are killed, they may simply be replaced by the migrating larvae.
Heartgard May Be Used to Treat Heartworms
In the case that heartworms have been diagnosed, medications like Heartgard that contain ivermectin can be used in order to treat the illness. The active ingredient in Heartgard, ivermectin, has has been proven to shorten the lifespan of adult heartworms. It also prevents the dog from spreading the disease and it kills any present larvae to prevent further infection.
Because of the versatility of Heartgard as a heartworm preventative and treatment medication, a veterinarian will in many cases prescribe the medication Heartgard will be prescribed as way to kill off microfilariae, or the larval stage of heartworms. After the medication has been prescribed for a certain period, advanced treatments may be used.
Heartgard is preferable to be used as a treatment because many alternative treatment options such as surgery or arsenic medications like melarsomine dihydrochloride (Immiticide) are very expensive and potentially dangerous. If Heartgard can be used in some way for heartworm treatment, it is preferable for the safety of the dog.