Heartworm Awareness Month

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April is Heartworm Awareness Month.  Here at My Zoo, we practice the most up to date recommendations for keeping your pet healthy and safe from these terrible parasites!  In honor of Heartworm Awareness Month, here are the basics of heartworms.

 

Who can get heart worms?

Among our pets, heartworms are most common in dogs.  However, cats are not immune!   In both species, heartworms cause damage to the heart and lungs and cause your pets to be very sick.  The longer the worms stay in your pet, the more damage can be done.

 

What can be done to protect my pet?

Heartworm preventatives are very effective.  There are multiple varieties available and we can help you decide what is right for your pet’s lifestyle.  Generally, there are monthly medications that can be applied topically (on the skin) or given as a treat depending on the medication.  There is also an injection we can administer here in the clinic to protect dogs from heartworms for 6 months.  Our team can help you pick the right one!

 

Do I need to test my dog every year even though I use heartworm prevention?

This is an excellent question.   Heartworm prevention is very effective, however if you are late or forget a month, your pet can be at risk!   Some dogs may even vomit the pill outside or rub off the skin treatment while you are not looking.  Studies show the longer those worms are in the body, the more severe the damage is to your pet’s heart.  Therefore, we perform yearly testing for dogs to make sure they live happy, healthy, and long lives!

 

Where do heartworms come from?

Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes.  When an infected mosquito bites your dog (or cat), the worms crawl out of the mosquito and enter your dog.  The baby worm then travels in the blood to heart, where it matures and starts reproducing.  The baby worms then travel to the small blood vessels near the skin’s surface to await a mosquito.  The mosquito then carries the baby to the next host.

 

Do I have to give prevention year round? 

Yes!  That is what is best for your pet!  I wouldn’t bet my pet’s health on a Missouri winter!  This last winter is a perfect example of why I don’t bet on a cold enough winter.  1 mosquito is all it takes.

 

 

If you have more questions, feel free to give us a call at 573-875-3647.

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Heartworm Protection

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With winter at our doorsteps, we commonly get asked “does my pet need heartworm protection in the winter?”   The answer to this question is…absolutely!   Here’s why:

 

Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. You never know when that last mosquito will die for the season…or when the first one will hatch in the spring.   Furthermore, if the temperature gets a little warm (over 50F), mosquitoes may be able to come out of hibernation.   Heartworm prevention works in a completely different manner than flea and tick prevention. Heartworm prevention kills the baby heartworms that the pet has been exposed to over the last month.   So if you miss a dose, any heartworms your pet was exposed to over the last month have the opportunity to grow to adulthood. The preventatives only kill the baby worms. Heartworm preventatives also have other benefits. Most of them kill many intestinal parasites every month as well.

 

We have a variety of heartworm preventatives, and our doctor can help you pick the one that is right for your pet! Call us if you have questions or would like more information!

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Blood sucking fiends!

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Hello everyone!   During Halloween, more and more bloodsucking and scary fiends like vampires, monsters, ghouls, goblins, and ghosts start popping up on television and in stores.    While most of those aren’t much of a risk to our pets, there are real-life bloodsuckers posing a danger to pets:  Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.

Fleas- Fleas are small, bloodsucking insects that infest animals.  They can be very challenging to eliminate, because everywhere a flea infested pet goes…the fleas drop off eggs.  So any surface your pet has touched or walked by has to be treated too!  We wrote a blog about the flea life cycle: click here.

 

 

Ticks – ticks are bloodsucking arachnids.  They are more closely related to spiders than insects! Ticks are particularly nasty blood sucking fiends since they can transmit a number of diseases to pets (and to humans).

 

 

Mosquitoes – These nasty little insects fly around and collect blood from their hosts to feed their young.  Interestingly, only female mosquitoes suck blood.  Mosquitoes carry a number of diseases that can be spread to animals and humans including heartworm disease, malaria, and West Nile to name a few.

 

 

So while we’re not afraid of vampires, the real life bloodsuckers are worrisome.  We have a number or recommendations and products that can help protect your pet from them!  Give us a call, and save your garlic for vampires.

 

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

If your pet has a costume, we would love to see a picture!  Bring your pet by or share a photo on Facebook!

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