Stray Rescue of St. Louis

Have a Heart by Healing One

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Have a Heart - by Healing One

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month

Did you know? Nearly half of the dogs we rescue have Heartworm Disease. With thousands of dogs rescued every year, the number with heartworm disease is astounding. This disease does not have to be a death sentence, and it’s actually easy to prevent. But once a dog has heartworms, the treatment is hard on the dog (aresenic-based injections). It is lengthy, expensive and absolutely necessary for survival. Treatment costs are a whopping $1,200 per dog, and their recovery time is about three months. Many people believe it's a rare disease or may not quite understand what damage heartworms can actually cause. At Stray Rescue, it's something we deal with on a daily basis. We have rescued dogs slowly losing their battle to this silent killer caused by a single mosquito bite. We have dogs literally on the brink of death from heart failure as a result of long term damage from the disease. It is heartbreaking when a newly rescued dog tests positive. However, it is worth every single penny when they recover and can run and play again!

Won’t you help us LEAVE NO DOG BEHIND, and help them go on to live a healthy, happy, loved life with their forever family? Have a heart by healing theirs!

And remember to keep your dogs healthy, happy and heartworm-free by giving them a heartworm preventative every month!

FAQ: Here are some common questions we are asked:

Q: How do dogs get heartworms? 

A: Only from the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

a 600 heartworm map

Q: If one of my dogs has heartworms, can he give it to my other dogs? 

A: No. Again, the only way heartworms are transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Q: How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms? 

A: For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin, and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease in the first place. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.

Q: What are the symptoms of heartworm infestations in dogs? 

A: Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough. As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before; they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.

Q: Once my dog has heartworms, what’s the treatment? 

A: The drug that is used to treat heartworm is called Immiticide. It’s an injectable, arsenic-based product. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.


Q: Why do I have to keep my dog quiet during the several months he’s being treated for heartworms? 

A: After treatment, the worms begin to die. And as they die, they break up into pieces, which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. That’s why dogs have to be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several months afterward. Studies have shown that most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise.

Q: If my dog gets heartworms, and is treated for them, can he get them again? 

A: Yes, he can get them again. That’s why prevention is so important.

Help an infected dog by clicking below!

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