Every pet owner should know about the dangers of heartworm — a dangerous parasite that transmits to animals through a mosquito bite. It can be hard to detect, and if left untreated, can cause lasting heart and lung damage and potentially death. In honor of National Heartworm Awareness Month, take cautionary pet care by learning the truth about this parasite and how you can prevent your furry friends from this health risk.
5 Heartworm Myths and the Truth Behind Them
1. Prevention is Only Necessary During Summer
Since heartworm spreads through mosquito bites, people believe that the parasite is only a risk to animals during warmer months when the insects are prevalent. However, stopping treatment during the winter months can put pets at risk of infection. It’s essential to provide medication as directed year-round and never to miss a dose.
2. Heartworms Are Contagious
Heartworm can only spread when an infected mosquito bites an animal and transmits larvae through the blood. If a pet has contracted heartworm, it cannot carry to another animal. You don’t need to separate infected pets from other animals.
3. Indoor Pets Aren’t at Risk
Even if your four-legged friend doesn’t spend a lot of time outside, heartworm is still a danger. In fact, it only takes one mosquito bite for the parasite to spread, and they can find a way into your home. Stick to your vet’s recommended pet care to save your cat or dog from infection.
4. Prevention is Expensive
Many people avoid heartworm prevention because they are afraid it will cost too much. Realistically, these products are affordable and will eliminate the need for expensive pet care in the event of an infection. Many medications provide added value by preventing intestinal parasites like roundworm and tapeworm.
5. Testing Isn’t Needed With Preventive Care
Even with year-round prevention treatment, there is always the risk that an infection may occur. Unfortunately, cats and dogs don’t always show signs that the problem is present. Annual testing under the care of a veterinarian is the best way to make sure the treatment is working and that no parasites are present.
If you’re unsure of which heartworm prevention is best, it’s best to consult an experienced veterinarian. The team at High Point Veterinary Hospital, in the Piedmont Triad region of NC, is the trusted animal hospital that offers comprehensive preventive health services to help your pet live a long and healthy life. They also offer boarding, grooming, and a full-service pharmacy. Visit this pet care clinic online to learn more about their services, or call (336) 889-3832 to schedule an exam for your animal companion.