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Frequently Asked Questions About Heartworm Prevention for Dogs

As a responsible dog owner, you must take preventative measures against heartworm disease, which is caused by parasitic worms in an infected dog's heart and lungs and can be a severe and potentially fatal condition. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about heartworm conditions and information you need to protect your furry companion.

What Is Heartworm Disease?


Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic worm, causes heartworm disease. It is transmitted to dogs via the bite of an infected mosquito. These heartworms live in the heart and lungs of an infected dog and can cause severe damage to these vital organs.

What Are the Symptoms of Heartworm Disease in Dogs?


The symptoms of heartworm disease in dogs vary. Some common symptoms include:

  • Weight loss

  • Coughing

  • Decreased appetite

  • Lethargy

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Weight loss

If heartworm is left untreated, heart failure or even death may occur.

How Can You Prevent Heartworm Disease in a Dog?


Regular administration of a heartworm preventative medication is effective in preventing the condition. Preventions come in several forms, including pills, topical treatments and injections. Based on your pet’s age, weight and overall health, we can help determine the medications that best suit your dog.

When Should You Start Giving Your Dog Heartworm Preventative Medication?


As early as six to eight weeks, your pup can start receiving heartworm-preventative medication. But before starting preventative medication on your adult dog, we should test them for heartworm disease. The medication can be harmful if given to an already infected dog.

How Often Should You Give Your Dog Heartworm Preventative Medication?


The frequency of heartworm preventative medication administration varies with the type of medication being administered. While some medications are given monthly, others may be administered every six months. Follow the products instructions and maintain a regular preventative medication schedule to help ensure the medication's effectiveness.

What Happens If a Pooch Misses a Dose of Heartworm Preventative Medication?


If your pet misses a dose of the preventative medication, give them the missed dose as soon as possible. If more than one month has passed since the missed dose, administer the dose and bring your dog in for another heartworm disease test in six months.

Can a Dog Still Get Heartworm Disease If They Are on Preventative Medication?


Heartworm-preventative medication is highly effective. But there is a slight chance your pup can still become infected with the disease. It is essential to maintain a regular preventative medication schedule. Having your dog tested for heartworm disease every year is advised.



Heartworm disease is a significant and potentially deadly condition. Fortunately, it is preventable through the routine administration of preventative medication. You can help protect your furry companion from this preventable disease if you stick to the treatment schedule. Contact us for guidance and support if your dog tests positive for this condition.

For more on heartworm prevention for dogs, visit Border Animal Hospital at our office in Weslaco, Texas. Call (956) 968-3858 to book an appointment today.

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