It's Mosquito, Flea, and Tick Season. It's imperative that dogs are on Heartworm and flea/tick preventative. There are many forms of prevention and many of them will not only kill these nuisance insects but they will also kill and prevent intestinal worms.
Mosquitoes are carriers of heartworms and they easily help the spread of Heartworm disease. Heartworms are prevalent in the South-East due to the heat and humidity. They are even able to stick around all year long because it never really gets cold.
Heartworms are deadly to any dog that contract Heartworms if they are not on preventative medicine. A once a month heartworm pill recommended by your veterinarian will save your dog's life. Though cats and other mammals can get Heartworms, dogs are the most common to test positive.
How it works:
- A mosquito bites an already infected Heartworm positive dog and sucks up baby heartworms.
- They fly to another dog and bites that dog.
- If the dog is not on prevention, the mosquito drops that baby heartworm into the blood stream.
- The baby grows and eventually goes to the heart and becomes an adult.
The prevention kills the babies before they even have a chance to grow into adults. Preventative cannot kill the adults.
1 out of 100 dogs will get Heartworm disease. 1 out of 12 dogs that enter Animal Care & Control's shelter test positive for Heartworm disease.
Signs of heartworm disease may include a mild persistent cough, reluctance to exercise, fatigue after moderate activity, decreased appetite, and weight loss. As heartworm disease progresses, pets may develop heart failure and the appearance of a swollen belly due to excess fluid in the abdomen. Dogs with large numbers of heartworms can develop a sudden blockages of blood flow within the heart leading to a life-threatening form of cardiovascular collapse.
Although Heartworm disease CAN be treated, it is FAR MORE EXPENSIVE and time consuming to treat that it is to purchase a 6 month supply of Heartworm prevention. Plus, the dog's quality of life is lessened because they must remain calm, quiet, and even confined if needed, which is the complete opposite of what dogs really love to do: run, jump, and play.
The best and most responsible thing any pet owner can do is keep their dog in monthly preventative...EVEN IF they live inside.
To learn more about Heartworm disease and its negative effects, visit heartwormsociety.org/
If you'd like to sponsor a treatment for a Heartworm positive dog, you make a life-saving donation and check mark Sponsor a Heartworm+ Dog.
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas are the most common external parasite to plague companion animals. They are wingless insects that feed on blood, can jump up to two feet high and are persistent in the environment.
There's a misconception that fleas live on animals but they actually live just about everywhere else. They come from the outside world, can jump onto an animal, bite on that animal and be carried into the house. From there they will jump off and will live on anything that is soft and has many nooks and crannies. This includes carpet, couches, rugs, and loads more. They can multiply extremely quickly and can literally drain the life out of an animal. They will also bite humans.
Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of unlucky host animals, such as cats and dogs. Like mites and spiders, ticks are arachnids. Although their presence may not even be noticed by the host, ticks can transmit many diseases through their bite.
Lime disease is the most common that Ticks will spread. They are found in thick weeds and dense woods. They will also bite and latch on to humans, not just pets.
Both fleas and ticks need to be eliminated from a home if they get inside. There are many products out there to assist in the extermination of a flea infestation that are pet friendly.
But, the best and most responsible thing any pet owner can do to prevent fleas and ticks becoming a huge problem is to get them on monthly prevention. Most prevention can be found in pet stores but talk to your veterinarian for their opinion on best products to use.
The learn more about fleas and ticks visit aspca.org/