Heartworm Prevention Month

Dr. Jessica Shepler
Partner Veterinarian CityVet Highlands Ranch

April brings not just showers but also a reminder of the importance of heartworm prevention for our pets. At CityVet, we understand that your dog is more than just a pet; they’re part of your family. That’s why during Heartworm Prevention Month—and all year round—we emphasize the significance of proactive care in safeguarding the health of your beloved canine companions.

Heartworm prevention month CityVet

Understanding Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and the right side of the heart of pets, primarily in dogs. 

This disease is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, meaning that any dog, regardless of breed, age, or lifestyle, can be susceptible.

Dogs at Increased Risk

While all dogs are at risk, those who live in regions with higher mosquito populations or those that spend a great deal of time outdoors are at an increased risk. 

It’s also crucial to note that certain areas of the country have a higher prevalence of heartworm disease. However, with the mobility of pets and stray animals, heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states in the U.S.


Detecting heartworm disease can be challenging because symptoms may not appear until the disease is advanced. Early detection is crucial, so be vigilant for signs such as:

  • Mild persistent cough
  • Reluctance to exercise
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

As the disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen.


Preventing heartworm disease is much safer, easier, and more affordable than treating the advanced stage of the disease. Here are ways to protect your dog:

  • Monthly Preventatives: Use heartworm preventatives year-round. These are available as oral tablets, topical treatments, or injections.
  • Mosquito Control: Reduce mosquito exposure by eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed and using mosquito repellents approved for dogs.
  • Regular Testing: Have your dog tested annually for heartworms, as early detection is key to successful treatment.

If you’re concerned your dog may have heartworms, it’s critical to consult with a veterinarian immediately. Treatment can be complex and costly, so never attempt to treat the disease without professional guidance.

Prevention is Key

  • Pet-Proof Your Home: Regularly inspect your home for any potential hazards and keep them out of reach. 
  • Educate Your Family: Ensure all family members are aware of what items can be dangerous to pets. 
  • Store Medications Safely: Always keep medications in secure cabinets.
  • Choose Pet-Safe Plants and Products: Opt for non-toxic options when buying plants and household products. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late. This Heartworm Prevention Month, take the opportunity to learn more about protecting your pet. At CityVet, our compassionate and knowledgeable team is ready to answer any questions you have about heartworm prevention, symptoms, and treatment.

Are you up to date on your heartworm prevention strategy? Whether you’re looking to start your dog on a preventive regimen or have concerns about heartworm disease, we’re here to help. Visit CityVet to schedule an appointment or talk to one of our veterinary professionals. Let’s work together to keep your dog healthy, happy, and heartworm-free!