Heartworms are a parasite that dogs are susceptible to. They are relatively inexpensive to prevent, but very costly to treat, and left untreated, can be fatal. While most people know that heartworm preventative is a must if you own a dog, not everyone realizes that it’s incredibly important to keep your dog on preventative treatment year round. Let’s discuss the importance of year round heartworm prevention in dogs, and what you can do to keep your dog or cat safe.

How Do Dogs Get Heartworms?

Dogs can only get heartworms from being bitten by an infected mosquito. It can take several months from the point of infection before the larvae mature and migrate to the dogs heart and lungs, where they cause most of the damage. Read the infographic below by the American Heartworm Society for more information on the risk of dogs getting hearworm disease.

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What States Are Prone to Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states in dogs. Cases can happen at any time of the year, as even in colder winter months, mosquitoes can make their way inside and infect your pet. Over the years, the incidence of hear worms has grown tremendously, and year round prevention is the best way to reduce your pet’s risk of contracting these deadly parasites. The charts below show the changes between 2010 (left) and 2013 (right) – a significant growth in just a few years.

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Can Cats Get Heartworms?

Yes, though it is much less common for cats, as they are not the preferred host of the worms. In case you are worried about your cat, talk to your veterinarian or contact us as we are an official American Association of Feline Practicioners Cat Friendly clinic.

Is Heartworm Treatable?

Yes, in dogs it is treatable, but treatment is expensive and can be risky. There is no approved treatment for cats as the medicine approved for dogs is not safe for cats. Prevention is the best way to keep your pet safe, and much more cost-effective than treating an infected animal.

In conclusion, prevention is far better, cheaper, and safer than risking your dog or cat’s exposure to heartworm disease. Don’t take our word for it, check out the facts below, and read more at the AHA’s website for more details on Heartworm Disease. And then hurry up and schedule your pet’s appointment to get your dog or cat tested, and on a regular preventive for heartworm disease today!

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