Friday, April 22, 2016

Dogs, Cats and Heartworm... Oh My!

For many of us April means spring showers, the beginning of warmer weather and not knowing if the sweater you walked out of the house with will be too much or not enough. However, to a veterinarian, April means Heartworm Awareness Month. Here we'll cover the ins and outs of this nasty parasite, and justify our reasoning for always asking "do you need to purchase more heartworm preventative?" when you're here. We have your beloved pet's well-being in mind, we assure you.
Let's get the scary truths out of the way; heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal parasitic infestation that can affect dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals. For our feline friends, though heartworm disease isn’t as common as it is in dogs, it’s presence may remain unknown until a pet becomes very sick or even passes from it as it is tough to diagnose and there is no treatment available. For the kitties, prevention is the ONLY option to stay safe against heartworm. For our canine companions, heartworm disease often exhibits no symptoms until its advanced stages, so routine testing is the primary way to diagnose. Treatment is costly and not without risks as it requires multiple injections and the pet's activity level must be severely restricted.  The term “heartworm positive” can be a tough thing to hear, but there is a silver lining to the situation: heartworm disease is easily preventable.
So we covered why you don’t want heartworm disease to be a part of your furry friend’s life, now let’s talk about what you can do to prevent it. We’ve made that simple for you and the answer is…well, PREVENTATIVES! We offer an array of heartworm preventatives that can be found in our hospital, and additional varieties can be found at our online pharmacy, right on our website. The key to getting the most peace of mind out of your preventatives is consistency. Give the preventative on the same date, each month. We recommend keeping your pet on preventatives year round. Why? Let’s just take a brief moment to reminisce on our 50 degree December. Holiday cheer wasn’t the only thing abound at that time.. the mosquitoes were too.
                So your pet is on preventatives (year round) and we are abundantly proud of you but guess what…that’s half the battle!  What else can YOU be doing to prevent heartworm disease? Talk about it! Knowledge is power and although the details about heartworm don’t often come up in conversation when faced with juicy gossip and recaps of what happened on the Walking Dead (don’t get me started), make it a point to share some of these pieces of knowledge I’ve shared with you today. Getting one more pet on consistent heartworm prevention can mean one less heartworm positive dog or cat, and one less pet owner who has to face some tough and expensive choices.
Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions, we love to answer them! Tune in next week where I offer you a handy informational insider’s guide to our heartworm preventatives.

Kate Dickson
BAH Receptionist

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