Many of you may have noticed a lot of mosquitoes this year in our valley. Actually, every year we seem to have an increase in population. Standing or stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Those backyard fish ponds, swimming pools that are not treated, landscape run off. All these lead to the increase in the mosquito population. Many mosquitoes can transmit diseases.
One such disease we are increasingly aware of is heartworm. Heartworm is actually a parasite spread by mosquitoes from one infected dog to another through mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected dog they ingest little microscopic worm larvae. It is then transmitted to the other dog. It enters the bloodstream and travels throughout the body. The larvae develops into worms that settle in the dogs heart, eventually choking off the heart and/or lungs. Some of these worms can grow to 12 – 14 inches in length.
If your dog contracts heartworm, it can be treated, but there are risks involved and the treatment can be quite costly. Sometimes the effects cannot be reversed. So what is the best answer? Prevention!!
The best way to fight heartworm is to prevent it all together.
So, next time you make a visit to your Veterinarian, ask him/her about Heartworm prevention. The first thing your Veterinarian will do is a simple blood test. The blood test will detect whether or not your dog is all ready infected. Once this test is found to be negative, your pet can be put on a preventive medicine. This medicine comes in the form of a chewy treat. Given once a month, it will keep Fido free of heartworm . The blood test should be repeated annually after that and the medication given every month without interruption.
Our valley used to be void of these disease carrying mosquitoes. But, that is no longer true. Please take proper precautions to ensure your pets are protected from Heartworm. They will love you for it.