Those pesky mosquitos. Part of the landscape in our neck of the woods. Practically the state bird. We grab our mosquito spray to prepare for outdoor fun and probably never give them a second thought.
But have you ever stopped to consider the threat they pose to our four-legged family members? Mosquitos carry heartworms which, if undetected and left untreated, can prove fatal. Both dogs and cats can become infected with heartworms, although dogs are more commonly infected.
The good news is that heartworms can be prevented with medication. When I was a child, heartworm prevention came in the form of a daily pill. If you missed 1 day, your dog could become infected. Nowadays, it is as easy as giving a monthly pill or a 6-month injection. Recently a 12-month heartworm injection became available to keep your dog safe from heartworms. For cats, a monthly pill or monthly topical liquid can be applied to the skin to protect from heartworms and other parasites.
Although heartworms are treatable in dogs, prevention is always the best choice. In cats, heartworms are not treatable, so prevention is very important, particularly for outdoor cats who have a higher risk of infection.
We love our fur babies and want to keep them healthy. And we live in a heartworm endemic area. So remember to give them protection that will prevent mosquitos from transmitting dangerous parasites.