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Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida, Inc
PO Box 1449, Goldenrod, FL 32733-1449
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     < Back to Health Facts

Heartworm Positive!


Those are the words we hear all too often from the veterinarian when we get dogs checked out for the first time. We know that this disease could easily be prevented, but it will cost us precious dollars and weeks of TLC before we can get that dog his new home.

What Exactly Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are in the same class of worms as roundworms and can infect both dogs and cats.  An animal is infected with heartworm through the bite of a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae (microfilariae).  The larvae grow and make their way to the heart of the infected animal, where they become adult worms, sometimes reaching a length of 14 inches. Adult heartworms in dogs can live up to 5-7 years and a severely infected dog can have up to several hundred heartworms in their hearts and vessels. The adult worms obstruct the heart and blood vessels leading from the heart to the lungs.  If left untreated the dog can die from heart failure.



How Do Heartworm Positive Dogs Affect GRRMF?

GRRMF takes in many heartworm positive dogs annually. In some cases an owner or another group was unable to afford the cost of treatment. Consider these facts:

  • Animal shelters rarely treat heartworm positive dogs; they often euthanize them -- sometimes, rescue is the dog's only chance for treatment
  • 17 heartworm positive dogs came into our program in 2008
  • 10 heartworm positive dogs have come into our program in 2009, so far
  • The approximate cost to treat a heartworm positive dog can be $600-$900, and can increase if the dog requires pre-treatment or experiences complications during treatment
  • Heartworm positive dogs must be monitored closely and kept quiet while they recover
  • Treatment of heartworm positive dogs require at least 8 weeks of recovery in a foster home, which means we cannot make room for other dogs
  • Heartworm preventatives do not kill adult heartworms--this is why you MUST keep your dog on preventative year round and your dog MUST be tested for heartworms at least yearly

What Can You Do to Prevent Heartworms?

Several products for heartworm prevention are available and cost approximately $5-$7 per month for an average size golden retriever. GRRMF provides heartworm testing and prevention to every dog we take in while they are in foster care. Thanks to the generosity of our donors we are not only able to provide prevention to heartworm negative dogs in our foster care but are able to provide treatment to the heartworm positive dogs we take in.   Your continued support will allow GRRMF to keep providing heartworm treatment and prevention to the dogs we take in. Every dollar counts. Please consider donating today.

What Can You Do to Help?

  • Help us by donating now! We can only continue to help these dogs with your help
  • Make sure your dogs are on a heartworm prevention year-round
  • Spread the word how easy it is to protect your dog and how tragic it can be if you don't