"Heartworm Treatment Cost...
Heartworms are a potentially life threatening infection that can easily be avoided with FDA approved preventatives like Heartgard. The disease is caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitus. In the circumstance that heartworms are diagnosed, there are different stages of diagnosis that will determine the type and amount of treatments that are used.
Heartgard is Used for Heartworm Treatment
Heartgard is used as a heartworm treatment by many veterinarians in addition to other treatments. Heartgard is proven to reduce the number of heartworm microfilariae that still may be in the bloodstream of the host dog. It is also proven to sterilize adult worms and prevent further development of adult worms.
Typically, a veterinarian will put a dog on Heartgard after it has been diagnosed with heartworms. The dog is placed on the medication for a period to kill immature heartworms and prevent a worsening of the condition. Heartgard unfortunately can not be used to kill adult worms, which is why other treatments are necessary.
Heartworm Treatment Costs Vary
The treatment costs for heartworm treatment vary. If the disease is caught in the first stage (there are four total stages) treatment can be as simple as prescribing Heartgard and allowing the dog time for the immature heartworms to be killed. At that stage, the adult heartworms may never develop, and further treatment may not be necessary depending on a veterinarian’s opinion.
However, this would only be possible if the heartworms have not migrated and implanted themselves into the heart and lungs. For those dogs with stage two to stage four heartworm infections, other treatments must be used. Treatment costs can go up into the low thousands for Immiticide treatments. Immiticide is a very expensive arsenic based medication used to kill heartworms. Even surgery may be used for very advanced cases of heartworms.
Late Stage Treatment Can be Costly
These late stage treatments are performed in combination with Heartgard. Heartgard is typically used in the first stage of treatment, followed by Immiticide and/or surgery. If a dog has very advanced stage heartworm disease or requires surgery, there will be costs associated with hospitalization. Other diagnostics must be performed that will cost money too such as numerous x-rays, blood work, hospital care, food, and other costs related to the hospitalization of a dog infected with heartworms.
The worst case scenario is to have to pay thousands of dollars for dangerous and invasive surgery to treat third or fourth stage heartworms. Annual testing for heartworms and other parasites is very important in order to prevent the later stages of heartworm infection.
Heartworms can be found in all parts of the word, therefore preventatives like Heartgard should be taken year round after they are prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Heartgard is not very much money in comparison to the cost of mid to late stage heartworm treatment. The high cost for heartworm treatment and the serious health problems associated with the disease are great reasons to get your dog on a prescription of Heartgard today.