April is Hear tworm Awareness Month. Heartworms, as you may know, are extremely dangerous to dogs. These horrible parasites can infest Fido’s heart, lungs, and arteries, and can make him very sick. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to keep your beloved canine pal safe from heartworm infestations. A local New Orleans, LA vet lists some key ones in this article.
First and foremost, keep up with your pet’s parasite prevention. This is the best way to protect your pup! While there are treatments available for heartworm infestations in dogs, these are both more expensive and less pleasant for Fido than the preventative care. Treating heartworms in cats is even more difficult, as the products approved for dogs may not be safe for kitties. There are different preventative products available. Your vet will be able to discuss the various options with you.
Remember to give your pet their preventative care on time. Preventative products don’t kill live worms, so even small lapses can provide a window for heartworms to take root.
E ven if you are diligent about keeping up with your pet’s treatments, it’s also important to have them checked regularly. Unfortunately, some worms seem to be developing a resistance to certain preventative formulas. Err on the side of caution, and keep up with Fluffy and Fido’s exams and screenings.
Heartworms are not spread directly between pets. Instead, they have enlisted everyone’s favorite pest—the mosquito—to carry their larvae from pooch to pooch, via infected blood. While mosquito control won’t protect your pet in and of itself, it is sort of a win/win. After all, no one wants mosquitoes around anyway. Take care not to let standing water build up in things like plant pots or buckets. It also won’t hurt to do things that help protect mosquitoes’ natural predators. If you have land, consider building a bathouse. A single bat can eat 600 mosquitoes a night!
When talking about preventative care, it’s always important to know the warning signs to look for. With heartworms, coughing is often the first sign that something is wrong. Other red flags include shortness of breath, fatigue, and reduced interest in play. Ask your vet for more information.
Please reach out if ever we can be of assistance. As your New Orleans, LA veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!