With Louisiana having the second highest rate of heartworm disease in the country, according to the American Heartworm Society, dog and cat owners are urged to have their pets tested to avoid a deadly disease with costly treatments.

"What owners should do is contact their veterinarian. If they don't have a veterinarian, establish a relationship with one and make an appointment to go in, have the dog tested for heartworms first before they start any preventative medication," says Dr. Brian Ghere, a veterinarian at Prytania Veterinary Hospital.

Ghere tells 99.5 WRNO heartworm disease is deadly but preventable, and prevention is a lot cheaper than treatment.

"Every dog should have a test at least once a year, and you should test every dog before you start a heartworm preventative," Ghere said.

"And the vet after talking to the owner asking some questions about personal preferences in terms of method of application, how good they are at remembering frequency of application, they can determine which product would be best for that pet and that owner," Ghere said.