Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heartworm Prevention

Everyone knows how annoying those relentless mosquitoes are when you are trying to enjoy your yard or back porch. But these pests are more than just irritating – they can endanger your pet’s health by transmitting heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection transmitted when an infected mosquito bites your dog or cat. Monthly heartworm prevention is essential year round for both dogs and cats, even indoor kitties. In colder climates you could potentially discontinue preventative for the winter months but DC is not that climate. How often in DC do we have a few days of 50-60 degree weather in January? Those mosquitoes, fleas and ticks are just waiting to emerge and attack our dogs and cats. At Friendship we recommend giving both heartworm prevention and flea/tick prevention year round.

Prevention is key for both cats and dogs. There is NO treatment for heartworm in cats, and sudden death is a common result of heartworm infections. While it’s true that infected dogs can be treated, the treatment itself is very dangerous—and can even be fatal. Left untreated, heartworm disease will kill a dog.

Luckily, prevention is easy: just a pill or topical medication once a month. If only everything were that simple.

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