April is Heartworm Awareness Month. Is your pet on heartworm prevention? If not, please read about heartworm disease and how it affects your pet.
“My pet is indoors and doesn’t need to be on prevention.” We often hear that a pet doesn’t need to be on heartworm prevention because he or she stays indoors. This is not the case. Mosquitos can easily get into your home and when they do, your pet is the first thing they seek out! Even if your pet doesn’t go outside to potty, mosquitos can still come inside.
“My pet only needs prevention during warm months.” Mosquitos are found all year long, especially in the south. It’s strongly recommended that your pet stay on prevention 12 months out of the year.
“My pet is not around any other animal so he or she doesn’t need prevention.” Heartworms are not transmitted from pet to pet. They can only be transmitted from a mosquito bite to the pet. It only takes one bite to become infected!
“My pet is on prevention so he or she doesn’t need to be tested yearly.” Even though you may give your pet a monthly oral prevention. Your pet may vomit up the medication or be hiding it from you even though you think he or she has taken it.
- Heartworms are carried by mosquitos.
- Cats, Dogs and Ferrets are at risk for heartworm disease.
- Indoor and outdoor pets are at risk for heartworm disease.
- It is cheaper and lower risk to prevent than to treat.
- Heartworm disease can be deadly.
- Heartworm disease is hard to detect in cats and there is no treatment.
- Pets in the southeast are at higher risk due to the mild temperatures.
- Most heartworm preventatives also protect against intestinal parasites.
- Keep your pet on prevention all year. It is easier to remember giving prevention monthly, rather than stopping and starting back during warmer months.
- Puppies and kittens should start on prevention at 8-12 weeks of age.
- There are many kinds of heartworm preventatives including an oral tablet or chew, injectable and topical. Speak with your veterinarian to see what is recommended for pet!
- In 2012 we tested 906 dogs for heartworms. 46 came back positive.
- There have been 297 canine positive heartworm cases in Anderson since 2007
- 25-30% of heartworm positive cats are indoor
(Click the photo for more information)
What happens if your pet is positive for heartworms?
If you have a dog positive for heartworms, there is a treatment. Depending on the age, physical condition and extent of the heartworm disease your pet may be a candidate for treatment. However, it is long process, very expensive and can be risky. It’s in the best interest of your pet to prevent all year!
Heartworm disease causes damage to the heart and lungs. Clinical signs may not occur right away. Clinical signs include: Coughing, vomiting, trouble breathing, ascites (fluid in the abdomen).
If you’d like more information about heartworm disease please visit: http://www.heartwormsociety.org/think12/archives.html