Fishing is in our blood, and the thrill we get from a tug on the line is a lot like tasting a slice of Mama’s peach pie fresh out the oven. While we can’t claim to be experts, we can say we love the sport, and we’ve enjoyed fishing with the kids and their Spiderman fishing poles since they could hold a fishing pole. Earthworms were the bait of choice, mostly because the kids enjoyed digging them out of the messy dirt cup from the corner market. Not all worms are as fun and helpful as earthworms, though. Read on to learn about our first hand experience dealing with heartworms, the worm that’s carried by the bug Southerners hate most: the mosquito.
Ever heard of heartworms beyond flyers at the vet’s office? Heartworms are a parasite carried by mosquitoes. Once bitten, our pets can become infected and silently suffer for months. Heartworms must be one the earth’s most disgusting creatures, and grow to be a foot long. Want to know what heartworms look like? Plain spaghetti. See. Dinner ruined.
Heartworm isn’t something we can relax by the pool about. In fact, we’ve dealt with it personally, and can attest that it’s more like drowning in the pool. Previously, we acquired a breeding female from another breeder who was a beautiful dog who had one litter of stunning puppies. We did our homework: we Googled the breeder, researched the dog’s pedigree, and performed health testing. Unfortunately, the heartworm test came back positive, and we quickly became educated at how tragic heartworms can be.
Spanning 365 or more days, heartworm treatment involves oral medication as well as an injection directly into the heart to kill off these intensely growing worms. Pets are required to keep sedentary post-treatment and must stay still and quiet. Numerous injections are required, and test after test must be performed until a negative result is reached. We’re not playing, kids.
Luckily, our female’s heartworm-positive condition was caught quickly, and while we still can’t believe another fellow breeder would’ve allowed this sweet girl to be sold off in such a serious condition, we didn’t sit by. Multiple treatments were administered by our vet, and after six months of injections, antibiotics and monthly heartworm prevention medication, this incredible Momma was heartworm free.
Let’s Go Back to School
Ever heard of the American Heartworm Society? Yeah, me neither, until I became intimately familiar with their diligent research and commitment to educating pet owners and veterinarians. This organization has produced several helpful videos and guides to help us understand the risks of heartworms. We invite you to check out their website and their videos here.
It Ain’t Cheap, Folks
The average heartworm preventative medication is typically about $10-$15 per month, and we completely understand sometimes it gets tight to pay for all of the needs of a pet. To put things into perspective, we spent about $2,500 on the heartworm treatment, which is likely more than we would have spent on preventative heartworm medication for our dog’s entire lifetime. And let’s not forget the pain and suffering the dog goes through either.
Let’s Make a Pact
Friends and fellow dog lovers, let’s work together to stop heartworm.
Need help fast? The easiest way to gain access to preventative heartworm medication is by attending weekend pet clinics at retailers such as Tractor Supply, where they’ll write a prescription and perform a heartworm test within minutes and at a reasonable cost.
If you need assistance, please reach out to your local pet community to find answers, or send us a note, and we’ll help to raise awareness and funds to purchase heartworm prevention medication for your pet.
We commit to working towards a heartworm-free environment for our pets!