PETS: Heart Worm Prevention is a MUST for Your Dog!

by | Pets

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

One mosquito bite can destroy your dog’s heart

I never thought potential jury duty would change my life, but that’s exactly what happened.

On October 5, 2020, I was in the Charlotte courthouse biding my time to see if I would be called to serve on a grand jury (I wasn’t). I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a plea from a local rescue, Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks, asking for a maternity foster.

Fostering a mama dog and 12 puppies!

On a lark and with no prior maternity fostering experience, I responded that I could do it. The next day, on October 6, 2020, Stella, a 2-year-old blue pit bull mix, arrived at my house with her 12 newborn puppies.

Weak and heart worm positive

Stella was emaciated, weak, and scared, but still trying very hard to make sure her babies were fed and safe. She was also heartworm positive, a dreaded diagnosis because the treatment is both difficult and expensive. It’s also frustrating because heartworm is easily preventable.

Treatment is hard on your dog

After she finished her mom duties and once she was in better physical condition herself, Stella went through heartworm treatment, which left her very tired and lethargic. One scary night, I even called our director in a panic, because Stella was holed up in my closet shaking uncontrollably. Evidently, the shaking was a common side effect of the heartworm treatment. It took about six weeks for her to start getting back to her usual Stella-self.

An advocate for heart worm prevention

Stella’s story is why I am such an advocate for heartworm prevention. It broke my heart to see my playful, happy Stella become like an elderly dog overnight because of the heartworm treatment. She went from prancing happily after me to barely wanting to get out of bed.

Believe me, you don’t want to see your own dog, especially if he/she is older or has compromised health already, go through heartworm treatment. So, I beg you, please have your dogs on year-round heartworm preventative.

Prevention is easy

Heart worm can be spread through a single mosquito bite and is especially widespread in the South where we experience warmer temperatures longer. If your dog is not already on heart worm prevention, please talk to your vet about the best heart worm protection for your dog; there are a variety of options from pills to shots that last 6 months to a year. Places like even offer discounts for auto-shipping; they will also work with your vet on prescription renewal.

Or you could even request your RX renewal while waiting to be called for jury duty — I would.

About Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks Rescue

For the past seven years, Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks Rescue has saved more than 1200 large breed dogs. Just recently, though, we felt we could help more dogs by becoming Big Hearts Big Barks Foundation. The Foundation’s mission is to raise money for underfunded animal shelters and reputable rescues, as well as provide community outreach for vaccinations and spaying and neutering. To do this, we will be hosting quarterly fundraisers around the Lake Norman and Charlotte area. Please follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see our current events schedule.

Adopt Franklin

Handsome Franklin is one of Carolina Big Hearts Big Barks’ last rescues that need a forever home. Franklin is a 7-year-old, brindle and white pit bull terrier mix with a smile that can melt anybody’s heart. He is a low-key fella who enjoys couch snoozing and snacking. His secret charm weapon is introducing himself to new human friends by giving them his paw. He is house trained, crate trained, and ready for his forever couch…er, family.

Could you be the one he offers his paw to forever?

Apply to adopt Franklin at

Article and photos by Timina Stengel, Foster/Adopter/Rescue Advocate:
Timina Stengel

When she is not working with local rescue to foster, help with home visits and application processing, or host adoption events, Timina is Stella’s full time Personal Assistant/Mom. She also has two human teenagers, who are way less agreeable than Stella, and works as a lead content strategist.

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