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Heartworm Disease

Dog relaxing after the mobile vet administered a heartworm preventative

What is heartworm?

Heartworm is a serious disease and potentially fatal, it is caused by a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. The parasitic worm can grow up to 30cm in length, thriving as adults living in the heart, lungs and blood vessels around the organs in dogs, cats and ferrets. Heartworm disease can cause organ damage including heart failure, lung disease and even death.

Heartworm treatable by a mobile vet near me

Dirofilaria immitis

How does my pet get heartworm?

When an infected mosquito bites your pet they can inject the worm underneath the skin. The larval stage worms then mature within your pet’s body for the next six months. During this time, they can make their way around the body to the blood vessels of the lungs and the heart. Once mature, the worms reproduce in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites an infected pet, they take up the worms during feeding, continuing the cycle of infection.

Clinical Signs

Early stage symptoms of heartworm disease can include:

  • Respiratory issues

  • Lethargy

  • Dry and persistent coughing and

  • Weight loss

Though it can be tricky to initially tell that there is anything wrong with your pet as it is a slow onset disease it can take months for signs to show. If you notice any of these signs, book an appointment with your local mobile vet.

Heartworm disease can cause lifelong damage, which is why prevention is always better than treatment and if left untreated it is almost always fatal.


A simple blood test can be carried out by one of our mobile vets in your home, to determine if your pet is infected. Making sure your pet is up to date with their heartworm preventatives alongside regular health checks with a house-call vet ensures your pet stays as happy and healthy as possible.


With so many heartworm preventatives available, it can be confusing to decide which option is best for your pet and convenient for your lifestyle. If your dog has not been on a heartworm preventative before, or hasn’t had any within the last six months; a quick blood test will be required before beginning any preventatives.

Preventions commences from eight weeks of age and continues for the rest of your pets life. The most convenient method comes in the form of an injection, this is administered by your mobile vet and lasts for a year. Puppies can be given this from 12 weeks of age and a booster is required at six months of age.

Other preventatives come in the form of an oral tablet or a spot on liquid treatment applied topically, some brands include prevention against other parasites such as fleas and intestinal worms as well as heartworm prevention.

Our mobile vets generally give 2-3 options for you to consider

ProHeart SR12 injection

  • Protects against: heartworm disease

  • Frequency: 12 monthly for life

  • Administration: Injection given by your vet

Nexgard Spectra chewable for dogs

  • Protects against: heartworm disease, fleas, ticks, mites and intestinal worms (except hydatid tapeworm)

  • Frequency: monthly for life

  • Administration: beef flavoured oral chew

Heartworm chew administered by your local house call vet

Simparica Trio for dogs

  • Protects against: heartworm disease, fleas, ticks and intestinal worms

  • Frequency: monthly for life

  • Administration: liver flavoured oral chew

Advocate for dogs

  • Protects against: Heartworm, fleas, ear mites and major intestinal worms

  • Frequency: monthly for life

  • Administration: spot on treatment

Contact Cosy Paws Vet Care to arrange for one of our friendly mobile vets to give you a personalised recommendation based on your pets needs and lifestyle. If you have any questions please fill out a contact form or call 1300 308 338. Alternatively you can talk to a vet or nurse online with vet chat.


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