Heartworm disease is fortunately much less common in Connecticut than it is in warmer Southern states. This is because it is transmitted by mosquitoes, which do not overwinter in this area.
1. Most oral heartworm preventatives are well tolerated. They may be given in mosquito season but do not need to be given year-round unless your veterinarian is concerned about other intestinal parasites often also treated by the heartworm preventives. Preventatives should be started as soon as mosquitos are out.
2. If your pet does not tolerate the heartworm preventative well, you may opt to check a heartworm titer (blood test) at the beginning and end of the heartworm season. Alternatively, you can treat with the preventative during occurrences of peak exposure to mosquitoes.
3. Dogs cannot catch heartworm disease from other dogs; they can only catch it from a mosquito who carries the disease. Cats are very resistant to heartworm disease.
4. If a healthy dog has a positive heartworm test, treatment approach can be tailored to the individual based on clinical presentation.