Out of all pet parasites, the most dangerous one may be the heartworm. It is a parasite that lives in the heart, lungs, and connected blood vessels of a dog or cat. It causes serious lung disease, heart failure, and it damages other body organs.
Symptoms of heartworm disease include lethargy, appetite loss, and persistent cough in the early stages. Advanced stage symptoms of this disease are comprised of pale gums, abdominal bloating, and dark urine.
This parasite is transmitted through mosquito bites. If a mosquito bites an infected pet, it actually gets heartworm larvae itself, which mature into full-blown heartworms. Then, if the same mosquito bites a pet, the latter becomes infected.
Heartworm Prevention and Treatment
Heartworm prevention and treatment is different for dogs and cats.
Dogs should be tested for this condition yearly as part of their annual routine checkup. Heartworm prevention actions can be taken for puppies younger than seven months.
Prevention for this condition includes yearly or semi-annual treatments, which are comprised of pills that kill this parasite in its larval stages. This prevention is cheap and simple. Topical skin treatments can also be administered.
If a dog is infected with heartworm disease, the treatment is much more costly and difficult. Such treatment implies hospitalization while having heartworm adulticide injections, during which exercise is not allowed.
As for cats, heartworm prevention is comprised of monthly preventive treatments that may come as skin applications or chewable tablets. Cats are much more resistant to this parasite than dogs, however, they do need to be protected.
That’s because one single heartworm or even an immature larvae may cause serious illness or even death to cats. If they do get infected with this parasite, cats can develop a respiratory illness that many times leads to death.
Make sure you talk to your veterinarian about treatments that involve preventive care for heartworm disease for your dog or cat.
How Can Pet Insurance Help With Heartworm Prevention?
There are some pet insurance companies that offer optional wellness and preventive care plans that cover, among other things, heartworm prevention in addition to the basic plans.
Among these companies, we mention Embrace Pet Insurance, Pets Best, and Pet Assure. The last one is not really an insurance provider, but it offers discounts on treatments and vaccines from its network of veterinarians.
Here is a table that compares the wellness plans from these three different pet insurance companies.
|Company||Plans||Yoda's Monthly Premium||Coverage|
|Embrace Pet Insurance||Wellness Rewards with three maximum payable amounts (allowances): $250, $450, or $650 yearly per policy.||$18.95, $34.21, 49.42||Wellness exam fees, flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, microchipping, teeth cleaning, etc.|
|Pets Best||Essential Wellness, Best Wellness that reimburse up to $305 and $535||$16 and $26||Spaying/neutering, teeth cleaning, flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, microchipping, deworming, wellness exams, etc.|
|Pet Assure||–||$11.95||Routine wellness exams, routine care and vaccines, dental cleanings, parasite screenings, wellness visits, etc.|
Since heartworm disease is very expensive and dangerous to your pet’s health, it is recommended to prevent this type of condition. Heartworm prevention is much less costly, and if you can afford it, it is offered by most pet insurance providers that offer optional wellness plans.