How to Help Heartworm Positive Dogs
What are Heartworms?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.
Dogs are natural hosts for heartworms, which means that heartworms that live inside the dog mature into adults, mate and produce offspring. If untreated, their numbers can increase, and dogs have been known to harbor several hundred worms in their bodies. Heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lungs and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. For this reason, prevention is by far the best option, and treatment—when needed—should be administered as early in the course of the disease as possible.
What can I do to help?
Adopt or Foster
Prairie Paws pays for treatment of any dog that has heartworms! However, dogs need rest and medications during treatment. You can open up your home by fostering or adopting a dog that has heartworms so that he may comfortably recover from the disease. Physical exertion increases the rate at which the heartworms cause damage in the heart and lungs, so it is important to keep the dog from being active. You may need to administer treatment. After treatment is complete, dogs will be tested and you will need to give them monthly heartworm preventative to avoid the possibility of the dog contracting heartworms again. (NOTE: Every dog, heartworm positive AND negative needs to be on heartworm preventative!)
You can also help by donating to treatment costs! Heartworm positive dogs are more likely to get adopted if their treatment is sponsored. Heartworm treatment is usually over $1,000 at private veterinarians, but it only costs us around $200 per animal. Any little bit helps!
One of the best ways to help with heartworm prevention is to raise awareness! Share information about the disease on your social media and by telling your friends about it.
Another way to raise awareness is to help get our heartworm positive dogs noticed. Visit the shelter and take pictures of heartworm positive dogs that you can share with others! Remind them that treatment is sponsored, so they don't pay for any medications!