How Much Does Dog Heartworm Treatment Cost?

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Heartworm is a severe illness that can cause damage to your dog’s heart. Left untreated, it can be life-threatening.

The most important thing you can do for your canine companion is to prevent them from getting infected with heartworm in the first place.

If your dog does get heartworm disease, the good news is there are several preventive medications available that can be used to help protect your dog from heartworm. But how much does heartworm treatment cost?

The cost of heartworm treatment depends on the severity of your dog’s infection, medical history, and weight.

On average, diagnostic tests for heartworm range from $100 to $1000, melarsomine treatments may cost anywhere from $500 to $1500, and preventive treatment can cost between $6 to $18 per month. 

Did you know?

Severe cases of heartworm in dogs may lead to heart failure or damage to other organs from blockages.

What Is Heartworm in Dogs?

Heartworm is a parasite that can cause serious, life-threatening diseases in dogs and other canine species. Transmitted by mosquitoes, the larvae of heartworms can invade your dog’s body and grow into adult worms that live inside the heart and major blood vessels.

Causes of Heartworm in Dogs

Heartworm in dogs occurs when an infected mosquito bites your dog and transfers the larvae. Once the larvae are in your dog’s bloodstream, they migrate to the heart and lungs, where they mature into adult heartworms. Adult worms will produce more larvae, which mosquitoes can pick up and spread to other animals.

Symptoms of Heartworm in Dogs

The signs and symptoms of heartworms in dogs vary depending on the number and location of the worms. Common signs may include

  • A dry, hacking cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Listlessness
  • Fatigue

Cost of Tests for Detecting Heartworm

When it comes to diagnosing heartworm in dogs, accuracy is key. To ensure a successful diagnosis of heartworm, your veterinarian will need to run two different tests:

1. Antigen Test

The antigen test detects adult worms in the dog’s bloodstream. This test is typically done by analyzing a small sample of the dog’s blood.

Cost of Antigen Test

The cost of an antigen test varies depending on the veterinarian and their location. Generally, the cost ranges from $35 to $75.

2. Microfilariae Test

The microfilariae test identifies heartworm offspring. This test is performed by searching for the tiny larvae in a drop of the dog’s blood under a microscope.

Cost of Microfilariae Test

The price of the microfilariae test varies depending on several factors, including the clinic and region. Generally speaking, the microfilariae test usually costs anywhere from $20 to $40.

Cost of Additional Testing

Depending on the stage of the heartworm infection and your dog’s medical history, your veterinarian may use additional tests to confirm a diagnosis as well as to determine the severity. These tests may include the following:

1. Chest Radiography (X-Ray) and Its Cost

Chest radiography is a common diagnostic test used to evaluate the lungs and heart of a dog. The cost of this test varies depending on the veterinarian and location but usually ranges from $75 to $500 and the average cost fall between $150-$250.

2. ECG (Electrocardiogram) and Its Cost

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a test that detects any abnormal electrical activity in the heart. This test can help detect signs of cardiac arrhythmias or other heart abnormalities. The cost for an ECG typically ranges from $725 to $1000.

3. Bloodwork and Its Cost

Bloodwork is a quick and accurate way to evaluate the health of your dog. The cost for this test varies depending on the particular tests being performed but usually costs anywhere from $100 to $200.

4. Echocardiogram and Its Cost

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart that uses sound waves to create images. This test can be used to detect any abnormalities in the structure or functioning of the heart. The cost for an echocardiogram is around $500-$1000.

Cost of Medications

The main goal of treatment is to kill adult heartworms. This is done with an injectable drug called melarsomine. Depending on the severity of your dog’s infection, they may also need medications to help control any symptoms and prevent further complications. Common symptom-controlling medications include steroids and Doxycycline.

  • Melarsomine costs range from $500 to $1500.
  • Doxycycline costs from $85 to $110 for 30 pills.
  • Heartworm prevention costs range from $6 to $18 per month till recovery.
  • Steroid costs range from $40 for 30 days supply and a single injection costs $50-$150.
  • Surgery can be the last option in severe cases – costs may range from $3,000 to $6,000.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Heartworm Treatment

When it comes to heartworm treatment, several factors can affect the cost. These include:

  • The severity of your dog’s infection and the number of worms they have
  • The type of test administered
  • The type of medications used
  • Your veterinarian’s fees
  • Laboratory fees
  • Hospitalization costs
  • The age of your dog
  • Your location

Final Thoughts on Dog Heartworm Treatment Cost

Heartworm is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease that can easily be prevented with regular preventative medications. However, if your dog does become infected, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian. 

The cost of heartworm treatment ranges from $500 to $1500 depending on several factors, including the severity of your dog’s infection, the type of tests administered, and the type of medications used.