Among the most insignificant of the tasks shouldered by puppy-raisers is that of protecting their pups against heartworms. You start as soon as you get your dog; CCI gives you the first dose. Then you have to remember to administer a new one every month. You have to buy the medicine from a vet, and it’s pricy. (We pay $42 per 6-pack; $7 a serving). Judging from the maps on the American Heartworm Association’s website, this disease mostly menaces mammals (not just dogs but also cats, ferrets, and their wild cousins such as coyotes) along the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts and rivers. It doesn’t seems to have spread much into California over the past dozen years.
Still, there’s no arguing with CCI about whether to administer the medicine. And knowing what heartworms look like goes a long way to motivate me to avoid them. They have to be among nature’s grosser party animals. Transmitted only by mosquitoes, the larvae can take up to 6 months to mature, but then they grow to be a foot long, live 5-7 years, and reproduce until your animal’s internal organs look like they’ve been stuffed with spaghetti.
Happily, the medicine is chewable. I have no intention of ever tasting it, but the CCI puppies we’ve given it to act like it’s pate. Kyndall doesn’t inhale the stuff the way some of our puppies have; in general, she’s a daintier eater. But she likes it well enough. Here’s what this morning’s serving looked like: