The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the bugs are buzzing, all signs that spring is in full swing. That is why April is a perfect time to be reminded about the dreaded topic of heartworms. Did you know that according to the American Heartworm Society over one million dogs across the United States currently have heartworm disease? Are you aware of its prevalence in your area?
So, what exactly is heartworms? Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease caused by a parasite that can live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of affected pets. Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats, and ferrets but it can live in other mammalian species such as wolves and coyotes. Although heartworms can vary from species to species the mosquito plays a vital role in the heartworm life cycle. An adult heartworm produces microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that can circulate the bloodstream, so if a mosquito bites and picks up those microfilariae it can deposit it into the bloodstream of another pet. Once in a new host it takes approximately 6 months for the larva to mature into adult worms.
How can we stop the treachery of heartworms you say? Never fear; because here at My Zoo Animal Hospital we offer many products as heartworm preventatives so you can find the perfect match for you and your pet. We not only have a heart for pets but we have a heart for you too! Come by and ask about our heart giveaway that helps you remember your monthly heartworm prevention. And prevention is the best medicine. The American Heartworm Society suggests all dogs get tested once a year, and this can be conveniently done at My Zoo animal hospital. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your technicians or veterinarians, as we are all knowledgeable about heartworms.
“Heartworm Basics.” American Heartworm Society, 11 Feb. 1970, www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics.