Why you need to protect your dog from Heartworm


When going travelling it is vital your pet’s flea, worm and tick treatments are up to date and you are familiar with what parasites and ticks may be found in the areas you are travelling to. Heartworm in particular can cause great suffering and even death in your dog, so it is vital they are protected all year round.

Fleas & Ticks

There are three types of ticks in Australia: Bush, Brown and Paralysis. The most dangerous parasite for dogs is the Paralysis Tick, which can affect both dogs and cats.

While ticks are mostly found on the eastern seaboard of Australia, fleas are found everywhere and there is nothing worse than a flea-infested caravan or tent should you miss your treatments.

If you are heading to known tick areas during tick season, avoid taking your dog into bush or long grass areas, and your dog’s fur should be inspected daily and thoroughly for ticks.

It is important not to leave any part of a tick in your dog, so if you do find or suspect one, play it safe and take them to the nearest vet for safe removal.


Worming is also important when travelling, as you may be unaware of the parasitic risks in the areas you are travelling to.

Of particular importance is Heartworm, as it is transmitted by mosquitoes and poses a great threat and suffering to our dogs, whilst it can also affect cats to a lesser degree.

If you are heading to tropical or warmer clients where there are more mosquitoes, the risk is obviously greater. Even to animals that are kept indoors only.

Heartworm disease can lead to great suffering, causing weight loss, coughing and even sudden death and mosquitoes can be found anywhere! So, keeping your dog’s Heartworm treatments up to date is the only way to keep them safe and free from the horrible results it can have.

Prevention versus cure

In the case of Heartworm, prevention is the option you should always choose because the treatment for it is not only costly and difficult, but the treatment itself can in fact even cause death.

The drug required to kill Heartworm is called ‘adulticide’ and can easily have complications after the worm has been killed. The dog has to be closely monitored because after the worm is dead, it may cause blockages and other serious problems such as breathing difficulties and even an anaphylactic reaction.

Some dogs may even require surgery to remove all of the worms from their heart chambers, so when you consider how easy it is to access Heartworm treatment and the low cost of it, there is no reason to not have your dog’s Heartworm up to date all year round, not just when planning a trip to warmer climates.

Unfortunately, there are still many people who are unaware of how dangerous the Heartworm can be, so please don’t be one of those owners who leaves it to chance.  The same goes for their C5 vaccinations.

Instead, please help spread the word by sharing this article and talking to fellow dog owners and travellers about the need to keep a dog’s Heartworm treatment up to date. It could literally mean the difference between life and death.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

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