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Year-Round Heartworm Prevention: The Truth About Heartworm Vaccines for Cats & Dogs

In Texas, mosquito activity never fully dies off due to our mostly mild winters. As a result, heartworms are a threat year-round. At TCAP, we are often asked about the best approach to year-round protection for pets. Which medication is the best? Can’t I just skip doses in the winter time? Is there a heartworm vaccine?

Heartworm Vaccines: What You Need to Know

Despite advancements in veterinary medicine, a vaccine for heartworm disease has not yet been developed. This often leads pet owners to ask, “Is there a heartworm vaccine?” Unfortunately, prevention remains the only effective way to protect your dog or cat from this devastating condition.

Year-Round Prevention: Why It’s Necessary

With mosquitoes present year-round in Texas, so is the risk of heartworm disease. Therefore, you must continuously administer heartworm preventive medication to ensure both your dog’s and cat’s protection. Skipping doses can put your pet at risk and leave time for heartworm larvae to develop into adult worms. The American Heartworm Society is a great resource for learning more about these terrifying parasites.

Prescription Preventive Medications: Your Options

The FDA mandates a veterinarian prescribe heartworm preventatives, and there are various prescription medications available to prevent heartworm disease. These include:
  • Oral tablets
  • Flavored chews
  • Topical treatments
Each type of prevention is equally capable of protecting your pet against heartworms. The type of medication you choose will often come down to your pet’s lifestyle and your preferences for administration.

Regular Heartworm Testing: A Must for Pet Parents

Regular heartworm testing is essential even if your pet is on preventive medication. Testing detects potential infections early and ensures your furry friend’s ongoing health. Heartworm tests are conducted via a small sample of your pet’s blood and take around 15 minutes to produce results.

While TCAP does not currently offer cat heartworm testing, tests for dogs are available during our walk-in vaccine hours and are affordable for most pet parents.

The Importance of Year-Round Prevention and the Absence of a Heartworm Vaccine

While no heartworm vaccine exists, your commitment to year-round prevention is the most effective way to safeguard your dog or cat from this serious disease. Heartworm prevention medications, regular veterinary check-ups, and mosquito control measures play crucial roles in maintaining your pet’s health. By staying informed and proactive, you’re ensuring that your furry companion can enjoy a life free from the threat of heartworm disease.

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