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Posted on 04-14-2016

This month is Heartworm awareness month and we’re taking our part in creating a safer world for your pets and striving to prevent Heartworm.  For those who don’t know, Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes, most common in dogs, but cats can also be affected.

Here are 5 Ways to ensure that your furry friend doesn’t get infected this year: 

  1. It isn’t possible to protect your pet from ALL mosquitos in the world (even though your pet might think of you as a superhero), so taking the necessary precautions is the key to protecting your animal from Heartworm. Talk to your veterinarian about the proper medicine, as there are multiple dosages and ways to administer it, so find out what's best for your bundle of love.

2. Know your area!  Heartworm is seasonal in most places, but is most prevalent in warmer climates.  Here's a chart to show when and where you should keep your furry friend inside


3.   If you see your pet itching mosquito bites, make sure you get him or her the right medication within 6 weeks of the bite to kill off any microfilaria in the blood and prevent the larvae from growing to adulthood.

4.   Persistent coughing, especially during physical exercise, is a classic symptom in heartworm victims.  If your dog or cat is acting unusually winded after normal exercise, get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.  

5.   If your pet has already been treated for heartworm, approximately 6 months after treatment is completed, your veterinarian will perform a heartworm test to confirm that all heartworms have been eliminated. To avoid the possibility of your dog contracting heartworm disease again, you will want to administer heartworm prevention year-round for the rest of his life.  Just because he/she is rid of heartworm right now doesn't mean they can’t get it again! Talk with your local veterinarian about a heartworm prevention plan that is best for your lifestyle!

Heartworm is a serious problem and taking all of the necessary precautions can be life or death for your pet. However, the good news is that with the proper medications, your dog or cat should live a long and healthy life.

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