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Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention Of Heartworm Disease

Heartworms are more common than ever before in Clayton County. Every month we diagnose 3 to 4 cases of dogs with this deadly condition. They are spread by mosquitoes. The worm lives in the heart, blood vessels, & lungs of infected dogs. Microscopic baby heartworms circulate in the blood.The worms damage the heart, blood vessels and lungs. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Department every year Georgians spend between $9 million to $14 million treating heartworms in their dogs.

Risk Factors

Not giving monthly heartworm pills is the greatest risk factor. All dogs and cats are at risk, even if they live indoors. Indoor pets are frequently infected, and because they tend to be smaller, they have a much higher complication rate than larger pets. In Georgia, about one in three dogs not using prevention will become infected with heartworms sooner or later. Transmission occurs when a mosquito bites an infected dog. Dogs have no symptoms in the early stages of infection. But eventually, it is fatal if left untreated. Because heartworm disease is easy to prevent, it is uncommon in pets that receive routine veterinary care.

Clinical Signs

The clinical signs  don’t develop until the heart & lungs are already severely damaged.

  •  Coughing
  •  Coughing up blood or nosebleeds
  •  Heavy breathing, shortness of breath, panting even when cool and resting
  •  Unwillingness to exercise
  •  Heart Failure, leading to fluid build-up in the lungs and belly
  • Dead


Heartworm tests are run at our veterinary hospital  with only a few drops of blood, and take about 10 minutes to get the results.  The cost of the test is $36.00 which is usually included in our some of our Low Cost Vaccines Program Packages and also in our Wellness Plans for Dogs.


Prevention of heartworm disease is easy. All dogs in Clayton County should be on monthly heartworm prevention, year round, for life. Triheart Plus, Iverhart Plus  or the “Generic Sentinel” that we have made at a compounding pharmacy are the drugs of choice at our veterinary hospital. While many reliable products are available to prevent heartworms, the ones we recommend also control intestinal parasites, which are a major problem in our County, and can be life threatening.

Year round prevention is absolutely necessary in our area. In colder climates, prevention is sometimes skipped during the coldest months of winter, since mosquitoes cannot survive. This does not apply in Georgia. Infected mosquitoes have been found during every month, even January. The cost of prevention  is minimal compared to the cost of treating heartworm disease.


At Veterinary Medical Center Of Clayton we follow the recommendations of the American Heartworm Society for the treatment of heartworms in dogs. Dog’s owners need to realize up front that the treatment of heartworms is expensive and risky. The Standards of Care established by the State Board of Veterinary Medicine requires blood work and radiographs on all patients before undergoing heartworm treatment. In most cases our veterinarians follow what is called the “two injections protocol” for heartworm treatment. Some complicated cases may required a different protocol of treatment.

Average Estimate For Heartworm Treatment
Dog's Weight  Cost
1 to 20 Lbs $419.99
21 to 40 Lbs $495.99
41 to 60 Lbs $571.99
61 to 80 Lbs $638.99
81 to 100 Lbs $723.99

* Please notice that our estimates for treatment includes blood work, chest radiographs and hospitalization. Other surcharges may apply. 

We offer the most reasonable pricing for heartworm treatment in our area. For more information please contact our hospital at (404) 366 - 4370.

Veterinary Medical Center Of Clayton | Veterinarian | Animal Hospital | Forest Park, Georgia



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