Two of the most favorite household pets in the United States, the dogs and cats, are often at risk with a number of killer diseases. Among the most insidious is called the heartworm disease. Transmitted from infected mosquitoes, the disease is caused by parasitical worms that thrive in the heart, lungs and blood vessels.
Between cats and dogs, the latter proves to be the more vulnerable and prevalent host – multiplying by hundreds until the vital organs completely fail. In fact, according to the American Heartworm Society, the parasites rarely progress and multiply in its mature stage within the cat’s physiology. In worst cases, a cat may acquire Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) due to the growth of one out of six mature worms in its body. Nonetheless, both creatures have the potential to die from this disease without treatment.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council has published a forecast of high heartworm prevalence across the United States for the year 2017. In this map, the following states are listed as 4% to 100% high-risk zones:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Despite the fact that only 16 states have the highest prevalence forecast in contemporary date, it is important to understand that heartworm is pretty much spread nationwide. Anyone owning dogs or cats should be wary, if not prepare for the cost of dealing with it.
Overall Average Treatment Cost
Any vigilant pet owner is poised at preparing the worst. Hence, the core question: how much does heartworm treatment cost? The broadest calculation puts the overall average cost around $500 to $1,000, although severe cases may cause an excess of the actual value further beyond the maximum conservative price range.
This figure reflects the other possible additional expenses apart from the $200 to $400 Immiticide price. The calculations may include the vet consultation fee, heartworm exam, preventive medications following the full treatment protocol (Immiticide injection), and even surgical operations in extreme cases of heartworm infestation.
Heartworm Exam for Dogs and Cats
As mentioned earlier, the Immiticide price only accounts half of the total expenses needed to treat dogs suffering from latter stages of heartworm disease. Therefore, it is best for pet owners to be able to detect this disease long before it can attain it morbid potential.
Pet Care Rx estimates the cost of heartworm blood test to be anywhere between $45 and $50. Dogs that have reached about 7 months old should be examined for heartworm infestation, with or without the obvious symptoms. After all, Class 1 and 2 heartworm stages can easily be mistaken for a simple cough. While exams are scheduled in the middle of the year since the puppy’s birth, it does not necessarily mean that prevention only follows after it is tested positive. In fact, it is ideal for puppies to get preventive medication earlier.
Due to the cat’s naturally resilient immune system, ordinary blood tests may not prove very useful in determining the presence of heartworm disease. VCA Hospitals suggest performing antibody or antigen exams. Canine/feline antigen test kit is sold at Entirely Pets for $88.99.
Heartworm Prevention for Dogs and Cats
The cost of heartworm treatment for dogs entails more than just a few hundred dollars – it also takes a terrible toll in the dog’s overall condition considering that Immiticide or Dirobin both contain arsenic. As for the cats, no treatment is possible other than its tough immune system. Neither scenarios sound agreeable, which then makes prevention a crucial (if not the only viable) strategy in controlling this disease.
When it comes to preventing heartworm infection for dogs, there are four leading brands of preventative medicine. These are the following products as well as their price per yearly supply:
- Trifexis: $207.88
- Interceptor: $65.68
- Heartgard: $60.28
- Nuheart: $47.98
Petful indicates the following brands suitable for heartworm prevention in cats. All of these products have canine (dog) counterparts and it is important to understand that only the specific dosage may vary regardless of the similar chemical composition. It is best to consult with the vet concerning the prescribed quantity of each drug:
- Advantage Multi
- Heartgard Chewable
Ivermectin for Dogs
So, how much does heartworm treatment cost again? Compared to preventive medicine, avoiding heartworm treatment has become a pet owner’s primary goal. While spending for preventive drugs is obviously a better deal, it is even possible for homeowners to deduct a significant amount of the budget by choosing the (unbelievably) cheapest alternative.
According to Money Ahoy, one can spend only a total of 10 cents per 8 ounces of ivermectin bottle to keep heartworm off dogs for good. Note: The volume of medication is relative to the dog’s overall weight. In order to best understand the exact volume required for a particular pet dog, here is an example of an index one should follow:
- 14 lbs: 1 drop (0.05 cc)
- 15 to 29 lbs: 0.1 cc
- 30 to 58 lbs: 0.2 cc
- 59 to 88 lbs: 0.3 cc
- 89 to 117 lbs: 0.4 cc
- 118 to 147 lbs: 5 cc
While one can save an enormous sum of expenses choosing ivermectin, it is also important to take note that this drug may trigger unpleasant adverse effects on the following breeds:
- Old English Sheepdog
- English Sheepdog
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Australian Shepherd
- German Shepherd
- Long-haired Whippet
- Silken Windhound
- Skye Terrier
Surgical Remedy for Serious Cases
When the disease progresses up to Class 3 and 4, one may include standard emergency vet procedures in the overall cost of heartworm treatment. Apart from the obvious fatal symptoms, extreme infestation becomes highly visible via standard diagnostics.
At this point, the only viable recourse for attaining the slimmest realistic chance of recovery (especially among infected cats) is through surgery. These are the possible expenses worth considering when faced with such bleak prognosis:
- Emergency visit: $90 to $120
- Diagnostics (e.g. radiographs): $200 to $250
- 24 hours hospitalization: $1,200
- Major operation: $2,500 to $6,000