Monthly heartworm prevention is necessary to prevent a serious and fatal disease known as heartworm disease from occurring in dogs. Heartworm prevention for mastiffs poses its own challenges due to the breed's large size and genetic background.
Heartworm prevention medication is available only through veterinarian prescriptions. These medications contain the antiparasitic medication ivermectin which interrupts the development of heartworms in dogs. Some heartworm preventatives contain additional antiparasitic medications as well to prevent roundworm and hookworm infections.
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites, and mastiff pet owners who live in areas that support seasonal or yearly mosquito populations need to make sure that their mastiff is on a regular heartworm prevention schedule.
Mastiffs have been known to develop allergies to monthly heartworm prevention medications, usually after receiving the medication for a period of between 2 to 5 months. The cause of these allergies may be the result of the mastiff's large size and small genetic diversity within the breed.
Pet owners should talk with the mastiff's breeder to determine if any of the dog's immediate or distant relatives developed any allergies to heartworm prevention medications. If allergies occurred, pet owners should talk with the veterinarian about what type of preventative to use and how to identify any allergic reactions.
The amount of ivermectin necessary to prevent heartworm disease in dogs is administered based on the dog's weight, and the yearly cost of heartworm prevention in mastiffs is particularly high, compared with many other dog breeds. On average, Mastiff pet owners can expect to pay between $12 to $24 dollars per month on heartworm preventative medicine.
If a mastiff does not receive regular heartworm prevention medication and develops heartworm disease, the cost of treating the disease in large breed dogs is on average between $700 to $1,000 dollars. Risks are always involved in heartworm treatment medications, but treatments are necessary or death will eventually occur from heartworm disease.
Talk With Your Veterinarian
Mastiff pet owners need to talk with their veterinarian to determine when, and if, their mastiff should be placed on a monthly heartworm preventative. A veterinarian will also be able to track any allergic reactions to heartworm medications and provide alternative preventative measures. A heartworm disease test must also be administered by a veterinarian before any dog may be prescribed heartworm preventative medications.