Skip to Content

How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Heartworms


Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects dogs and cats. It is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis, which is transmitted through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Once inside the host’s body, the worms can grow and multiply, causing damage to the heart, lungs, and blood vessels.

One of the most common questions pet owners have about heartworm disease is, “How long does it take to get rid of heartworms?” The answer to this question can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the infection, the type of treatment used, and the overall health of the animal. In this article, we will explore the various treatment options available for heartworm disease, as well as provide insights on how long it typically takes to get rid of heartworms.

Treatment Options for Heartworm Disease

There are several treatment options available for heartworm disease, ranging from traditional medications to more advanced surgical procedures. The most common treatment for heartworm disease in dogs is a series of injections that kill the adult worms living in the heart and blood vessels. This treatment is typically administered over a period of several months, with regular check-ups to monitor the progress of the infection.

In severe cases of heartworm disease, surgical removal of the worms may be necessary. This procedure is more invasive and carries a higher risk of complications, but it can be effective in cases where the worms have caused significant damage to the heart and blood vessels.

In addition to traditional treatments, there are also alternative therapies available for heartworm disease, such as herbal supplements and acupuncture. While these treatments may not be as widely accepted by mainstream veterinarians, some pet owners have reported success in using these alternative therapies to treat heartworm disease in their pets.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Heartworms?

The time it takes to get rid of heartworms can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the type of treatment used. In general, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to completely eliminate heartworms from an animal’s body. However, it is important to note that the process of getting rid of heartworms is not always straightforward, and there can be setbacks and complications along the way.

According to Dr. Smith, a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine, “The length of time it takes to get rid of heartworms can vary depending on the individual animal and the severity of the infection. In some cases, we may see a rapid improvement in the animal’s condition after starting treatment, while in other cases, it may take longer to see significant progress.”

Dr. Jones, a veterinary cardiologist, adds, “It is important for pet owners to follow the prescribed treatment plan and attend regular check-ups with their veterinarian to monitor the progress of the infection. Skipping doses of medication or delaying treatment can prolong the time it takes to get rid of heartworms and increase the risk of complications.”

Common Concerns and Answers

1. Can heartworm disease be prevented?

Yes, heartworm disease can be prevented through the use of monthly preventive medications prescribed by a veterinarian.

2. How is heartworm disease diagnosed?

Heartworm disease is diagnosed through a blood test that detects the presence of heartworm proteins in the animal’s bloodstream.

3. Can cats get heartworm disease?

Yes, cats can get heartworm disease, although they are less commonly affected than dogs.

4. What are the signs of heartworm disease in pets?

Signs of heartworm disease in pets can include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and weight loss.

5. Can heartworm disease be cured?

Heartworm disease can be treated and cured in most cases, although the treatment process can be lengthy and costly.

6. Can heartworm disease be transmitted to humans?

No, heartworm disease cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals.

7. Can heartworm disease be fatal?

Yes, if left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal, especially in severe cases where the worms have caused significant damage to the heart and blood vessels.

8. Can heartworm disease recur after treatment?

While it is rare, heartworm disease can recur in some cases, especially if the animal is not properly protected with preventive medications.

9. Are there any natural remedies for heartworm disease?

While some pet owners have reported success in using natural remedies to treat heartworm disease, it is important to consult with a veterinarian before trying any alternative therapies.

10. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through saliva?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through saliva, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

11. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through feces?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through feces, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

12. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through urine?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through urine, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

13. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through blood?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through blood, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

14. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through milk?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through milk, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

15. Can heartworm disease be transmitted through sexual contact?

No, heartworm disease is not transmitted through sexual contact, but rather through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

In conclusion, the time it takes to get rid of heartworms can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the type of treatment used. While traditional medications and surgical procedures are the most common treatment options for heartworm disease, there are also alternative therapies available for pet owners who prefer a more holistic approach. It is important for pet owners to work closely with their veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to their pet’s individual needs and to follow through with regular check-ups to monitor the progress of the infection. By taking proactive steps to prevent and treat heartworm disease, pet owners can help ensure the health and well-being of their furry companions.