Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition that affects many dog breeds, including the agile and affectionate Epagneul Breton. Understanding how this disease impacts these dogs and the best methods for prevention and treatment is crucial for any responsible pet owner. In this article, we’ll delve into the prevalence of heartworm disease in Epagneul Bretons, how infection occurs, symptoms and diagnosis, prevention tips, and treatment options, including recommendations for effective products.

Prevalence of Heartworm Disease in Epagneul Bretons

Heartworm disease, caused by the parasite Dirofilaria immitis, is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. While all dogs are susceptible, those living in or traveling to endemic areas such as the southern United States face higher risks1. Epagneul Bretons, known for their active outdoor lifestyle, may be particularly exposed during hunting trips or long walks in mosquito-prone environments.

How Epagneul Bretons Can Become Infected

When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites a dog, it injects the larvae into the dog’s bloodstream. Over time, these larvae mature into adult heartworms that reside in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels, causing significant health issues. The lifecycle from larvae to adult worms takes about six months2.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Early detection of heartworm disease is vital. Symptoms in Epagneul Bretons can include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty breathing

In advanced cases, dogs may exhibit bloated abdomens due to fluid accumulation. Diagnosis typically involves blood tests to detect heartworm antigens or microfilariae (heartworm offspring) in the bloodstream3.

Prevention Tips

Preventing heartworm disease is far easier and less costly than treating it. Here are some key strategies for prevention:

Monthly Preventatives

Monthly heartworm preventatives are highly effective at protecting your Epagneul Breton. These medications work by eliminating larvae before they mature into adult worms. Here are a few reliable options:

  • Heartguard: This product combines ivermectin and pyrantel pamoate, which is highly effective against heartworm larvae. It also offers protection against other common parasites like fleas and ticks.
    • Dosage: Usually administered based on weight; consult your veterinarian for precise dosing.
    • Administration: Given orally as a chewable treat, making it easy to administer.
    • Efficacy: Proven to be over 99% effective in preventing heartworm disease when used consistently4.

Mosquito Control

Reducing your dog’s exposure to mosquitoes is another critical preventive measure:

  • Avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours (dawn and dusk).
  • Use veterinarian-approved mosquito repellents.
  • Maintain your yard by removing standing water where mosquitoes breed.

Treatment Options

If your Epagneul Breton tests positive for heartworms, prompt treatment is essential. Here’s what you need to know:

Initial Stabilization

Before starting actual heartworm treatment, your vet may need to stabilize your dog if they’re showing severe symptoms. This can include restricting physical activity and administering medications to reduce inflammation and support heart and lung function5.

Adulticide Therapy

The primary treatment for adult heartworms involves medications called adulticides. The most commonly used drug is melarsomine dihydrochloride:

  • Melarsomine Dihydrochloride: Administered via intramuscular injections, this medication effectively kills adult heartworms.
    • Dosage and Administration: Typically given in a series of injections over several weeks.
    • Efficacy: Highly effective but requires careful monitoring due to potential side effects6.

Post-Treatment Care

After successful adulticide therapy, follow-up care is crucial. Your vet will recommend:

  • Continued use of monthly preventatives to kill any remaining larvae.
  • Regular exercise restrictions to allow the heart and lungs to heal.
  • Monitoring for signs of complications such as pulmonary embolism.

Supporting Recommendations with Studies

Several studies underscore the importance and efficacy of preventive measures and treatments:

  • A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine highlighted the effectiveness of monthly preventatives in drastically reducing heartworm incidences7.
  • Research in the Veterinary Parasitology journal demonstrated the high success rates of melarsomine therapy in clearing adult heartworm infections8.

Practical Advice for Pet Owners

To protect your Epagneul Breton from heartworm disease:

  • Consult Your Vet: Regular check-ups and blood tests are essential.
  • Use Preventatives Consistently: Stick to a routine schedule for administering monthly preventatives.
  • Monitor Health Closely: Stay vigilant for any symptoms and seek prompt veterinary care if you suspect heartworm disease.

Call to Action

For more detailed information and to find the best heartworm preventative for your Epagneul Breton, visit Home and Field Dogs. Protect your loyal companion today to ensure many happy, healthy years together!



  1. American Heartworm Society. (2023). “Heartworm Incidence Maps.”

  2. Bowman, D.D., et al. (2009). “Transmission of Dirofilaria immitis.”

  3. Nelson, C.T., et al. (2014). “Diagnosis and Management of Canine Heartworm Infection.”

  4. McCall, J.W., et al. (2008). “Efficacy of Monthly Heartworm Preventive Products.”

  5. Atkins, C.E., et al. (1998). “Heartworm Disease Management in Dogs.”

  6. American Animal Hospital Association. (2016). “Canine Heartworm Guidelines.”

  7. Rawlings, C.A., et al. (1989). “Evaluation of the Efficacy of Heartworm Preventives.”

  8. Blagburn, B.L., et al. (2005). “Clinical Efficacy of Melarsomine Dihydrochloride.”