The Cost of Canine Heartworm Treatment

Canine heartworm treatment can be expensive, not just because of the treatment itself but because of the tests and hospital stay that is often necessary.

The following is a list of various diagnostic tools for heartworm infection:

  • Patient's history
  • Observance of clinical signs
  • Physical examination
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Angiography
  • Detection of microfilariae (juvenile worms that circulate in the bloodstream)
  • Echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart)

These tests can potentially run into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Heartworm Treatment

Most dogs with heartworm infections can be treated successfully. The goal of treatment is to kill all adult worms, juvenile worms and the larvae. The earlier the disease is treated, the higher the success rate.

There are two types of treatments: a drug administered intravenously and another through shots administered by injections into the lumbar (lower back) muscles. Each requires hospital stays of at least 8 hours and possibly an overnight stay, which can cost more than a thousand dollars. The cost of the medication varies according to the type chosen for use in treatment.


Prevention is safer and less costly than treating the disease. Heartworm medicine, such as daily and monthly chewables and tablets, are available as well as monthly topicals, such as Heartgard, and a six-month injectable. These products are extremely effective and will prevent heartworm infection when used properly. Some of these products also prevent intestinal dog parasites, which can infect the dog's owner, with an estimated 3 to 6 million people infected each year.