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Heartworm Prevention

By 8 February 2018 January 24th, 2019 News

Did you know that in Australia, mosquitoes can transmit a fatal disease to your dog?

Mosquitoes carry heartworm larvae which can be transmitted to the blood of dogs. These larvae then grow into worms which migrate to their heart. The worms cause terrible damage and this can be fatal. This is the tragic fate of many dogs infected with heartworm. Heartworm is deadly, but fortunately it is preventable.

The following factors are associated with an increased risk of heartworm:

  • Dogs that have not been on a heartworm prevention treatment for 3 or more months
  • Dogs that have potentially come into contact or been in contact with mosquitoes
  • Rescued or adopted dogs that haven’t had a heartworm test since joining your family
  • Dogs that are due for a heartworm test or haven’t ever had a heartworm test
  • Dogs that have been treated inconsistently for heartworm since puppyhood

Luckily there are a range of options available to keep our dogs safe.

We recommend a quick, affordable heartworm test (this can be done while you wait). If heartworm is detected, treatments are available and if caught early, has a higher chance of being effectively treated. Rescue dogs are particularly at risk because we don’t always know their full medical history.

If the test is negative then it’s safe to start a protection program straight away.

The right protection for your dog


Pros: a tasty treat which most dogs love! These may also treat intestinal worms, fleas and ticks!
Cons: some very fussy dogs may not eat them.


Pros: smaller than chews (can be hidden in a preferred treat!) or given to your pet by our vet team in the clinic.
Cons: some dogs dislike the taste and spit them out.


Pros: a medicated liquid drop administered on the skin, which is perfect for dogs who won’t take a chew or tablet.
Cons: effectiveness can be reduced if your dog swims regularly, is bathed regularly or comes in contact with rain soon after being treated.


Pros: this is a convenient once-a-year injection given by our vets. It can be done at the same time as your annual health check/vaccinations.
Cons: Annual amount is not split monthly, hence the initial upfront cost is higher (although it’s only once a year).

If you are not sure if your pet is protected, please contact us today.

Author Cymantha Sorensen

Dr Sam Sorensen graduated from Murdoch University, WA in 1985. She has special interests in Dermatology, Radiology, Surgery, Endocrinology, Acupuncture and Ultrasonography. Dr Sam has worked in Australia, China, Singapore and done volunteer work in Africa, Peru, Nepal, Solomon Islands and Cook Islands. She established Yanchep Veterinary Hospital in 2005 and from a small start has grown the practice into a full service hospital.

More posts by Cymantha Sorensen