Mosquitoes have a terrible reputation. While most adult mosquitoes are content to feast on plant nectar, females require blood meals prior to and following egg production. They torture humans with those itchy bites, but worst of all, they’re responsible for spreading diseases like malaria, west Nile, and the Zika virus. And they don’t just stop with us; they also prey on various mammals, amphibians, birds, and reptiles.
Heartworm prevention is the only viable tool pet owners have in the fight against disease-carrying mosquitoes. It’s vital to maintain a year-round dose of medication and have pets tested annually.
Heartworm disease is present in all 50 states, and it even affects animals who remain inside (we’ve all seen a mosquito in the house, haven’t we?). We’re no strangers to the seasonal onslaught of bugs that plague our warm, hot climate zone, making heartworm prevention a priority all year long.
If a pet is bitten by an infected mosquito late in the warmer season and then goes off their preventive during the winter, the heartworm larvae deposited in the bloodstream may have an opportunity to flourish.
After an incubation period of several months, the microscopic worms have matured and grown into adults which are immune to heartworm prevention medications. Sporadic or insufficient prevention tactics can also lead to resistance.
Mark the Calendar
While no preventive offers 100% protection from disease, the rate is certainly higher the more regularly it’s administered. There are oral, topical, and even injectable heartworm prevention methods, and we’re happy to help you find the right one for you and your pet.
When a pet is infected but continues to take medication, serious health risks ensue. Heartworm testing is very easy to do during your pet’s regular wellness exam. As an added bonus, it also provides insight into tick-borne illnesses. Positive results typically appear 6-7 months after exposure.
If diagnosed with heartworm, treatment can be dangerous, costly, and complicated. There’s no current treatment for cats, so it’s vital they receive some form of heartworm prevention.
Know the Score
Heartworm prevention is the safe, effective key to lifelong health. If you notice any of the following signs, immediate treatment is critical:
- Labored breathing
- Weight loss
When these symptoms are present, worms might be found in the arteries surrounding the heart and lungs.
Parasite prevention medications also protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and other common intestinal parasites. Please let us know if you have any questions. Our veterinarians and staff are always here for you!