So the weather’s cooler, I’m sniffin’ woodsmoke in the air and oh boy—it’s football season (ROLL TIDE!!).

That means you can just relax when it comes to giving your dog heartworm meds, right?

WRONG! As in lifting-your-leg-on-the-coffee-table wrong. Snacking-on-dirty-underwear wrong.

Here’s the deal straight from my dog-mom Dr. Bell: if the weather stays below 32 degrees for two months or more—solid—then the risk of heartworm is low. And here in ‘bama, the chances of that happening are as low as the chances the Crimson Tide will have a losing season.

If ya didn’t know, heartworm comes from mosquito bites, and there’s a lot of heartworm in our state—I mean, take a look at this map and see for yourself! (I can’t—I’ve been banished from the computer after I was caught drooling on the keyboard watching Tasty videos on YouTube). 

Heartworm is some nasty stuff, too. Those worms lodge themselves in a pet’s heart and lungs and then grow into big, squirming rice noodles of DEATH. Eventually they get so numerous they clog the heart and/or lungs and can cause heart failure. I wouldn’t wish this disease on any other pet, even Bugsy the cat—who by the way, can get heartworms, too. Shhhh… but don’t tell her that I said that.

Here’s the worst part: heartworm disease usually has no symptoms until those worms are balled up and harder to get rid of than a slacker in your basement. Your dog will die without treatment, which can be spendy and requires that your dog stay still and not play for weeks and weeks. I’ve seen some dogs in our hospital going through treatment and lemme tell ya, it sucks.

So here’s the good news: it’s easy to prevent heartworm, but you gotta do it year-round. At our hospital we recommend and use Heartgard, which you can buy directly from us. You’ll want to get it that way rather than online so you can make sure you’re getting the right stuff, cause this disease is serious business.

Well, time for me to head to a tail-gate pawty—’cause I like big punts and I cannot lie! If you have questions about heartworm or prevention, just give us a call at 205-486-4500!


Jake is the canine companion of Dr. Bell, and because he spends his days sniffing around for stray treats at a vet hospital, he’s managed to learn quite a bit. In fact, he’s so smart that Dr. Bell figured it was time he earned his keep (and couch time) by passing along some of that knowledge.