April Awareness

HEARTWORM!

April is finally here! The flowers are blooming and the sunshine has come out to stay. Spring is in the air, and so are mosquitoes!  We all are aware of what pests these critters can be, what with the biting and itching they cause us. Mosquitoes will also be interested in attacking your pet and can leave behind more than just an itchy spot!

April is Heartworm Awareness and Prevention Month.  Now is the time to learn how easy it is to protect your pet from contracting this deadly disease.

You may have heard of heartworm disease before, but you may not understand how deadly this disease can be. Or, maybe you’ve never even heard of it before.  Heartworms are parasites that can live in your pet’s bloodstream and travel to the heart, acting as blood clots, which can then begin to obstruct major arteries to the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Heartworm is carried by infected mosquitoes, which can transmit it to your pet with a single bite. Though heartworm is more abundant in the more humid climates, it is present in all 50 states and affects dogs and cats. The cases of heartworm disease in Arizona

Your pet may become infected with heartworm, and you might not even know as the symptoms are pretty general, such as possible lethargy and decreased appetite, and are very common for numerous ailments. Your veterinarian will check for heartworms by running a blood test, which is repeated yearly. Once the test results are confirmed negative, your pet can then be put on a monthly, oral preventative. Testing prior to starting a preventative is required because it can be dangerous to administer a preventative if heartworms are present. Because it can take just a single bite to become infected, even though mosquitoes are less common in the colder seasons, heartworm preventatives are recommended to be continued all year long.

So, if the dog has tested positive for the disease it is curable, right?  Yes it is, all but the most advanced cases.  However, any damage done by the infestation of heart worms is not reversible.  Also, the cure is costly, it can cost around $1000 to $1500.  (Not the medication alone, but the tests needed to find how bad the infestation is and the overnight hospital stays associated with the treatment.)

The prevention cost for 6 monthly “treats” is about the cost of one office visit to the vet.  Weighing that to the cure is quite a difference in the budget, and even if your dog has been cured of the disease once, s/he can get it again without prevention!

Since it is impossible to check every mosquito for the disease, it is simpler to give the dog a preventative.  Meaning a once a month “treat” like Tri-Heart or Sentinal®.

In this case an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure!  Still not a believer?  Watch this video and think about if you would like your best buddy to have to go through this?!

 

 

Now please check out Valley Animal Hospital’s April Promotion to help you keep your pets free of heart worm disease.