Dogs

Heartworm disease is more common than is realised by pet owners. Just one bite from an infected mosquito can cause heartworm infection in your dog, which can eventually lead to heart failure and death. Due to SE Queensland's climate being favourable for mosquitos, we are in a high risk area for the spread of heartworm disease. Fortunately, this disease can be easily and safely prevented.

Increased usage of heartworm prevention has reduced the incidence of heartworm disease in recent times. However, as with parvovirus, stopping vaccinations or heartworm prevention will lead to a dramatic resurgence in the incidence of these fatal diseases, placing many dogs in the community at risk.

Puppies should be started on heartworm prevention at 6 weeks of age. At 12 weeks of age, they can be given the Proheart SR12 injection (often referred to as the 'yearly heartworm injection'). However, because your puppy is still growing at this age, the injection only gives 3 months protection at this stage. Therefore, the second injection is required at 6 months of age followed by a booster at 15 months (which coincides with their booster vaccinations).  We believe this to be the best form of heartworm prevention as we can ensure 12 months' worth of protection against heartworm at the same time as the annual C5 vaccination is given. In addition to receiving their preventative medicine, your pet is also receiving their annual health check to ensure any developing illnesses are recognised and resolved early, maintaining your pets in the best possible health. For your convenience, we are able to send you reminders when your dog is due for their heartworm prevention, which helps to ensure they do not miss a dose.

For more information and advice regarding the right heartworm prevention for your pet, please contact the clinic.

Cats

Although the incidence of heartworm infection in cats is less frequent than in dogs, only small numbers of heartworms are required to cause severe disease or death in cats. Also, some cats may die suddenly from heartworm infection before signs have a chance to develop. Therefore, prevention against heartworm is just as important for cats as it is in dogs. Like dogs, cats acquire heartwom infection after receiving a bite from an infected mosquito. Luckily, heartworm disease can be easily and safely prevented.

Fortunately, due to an increase in the use of heartworm prevention, the incidence of heartworm has decreased in recent times. Therefore, if this prevention were to be stopped, the occurrence of heartworm in dogs and cats would most likely become more common.

Kittens should be started on heartworm prevention at 6 weeks of age, and this should then be given every two weeks until they are 12 weeks of age. From this point, regular heartworm prevention should be given monthly for life.

For more information and advice regarding the right heartworm prevention for your pet, please contact the clinic.