Wed, 08/14/2013 - 17:17 — M. Penny
Summer is the peak season for heartworm. If you don't treat your dog or cat for heartworm every month as recommended, please at least do so this month and next month.
The Western Tree Hole Mosquito is an incredibly common pest mosquito and the most important carrier of heartworm. Three months after the peak season for Tree Hole Mosquitos is the peak season for spreading heartworm. In other words, that's now.
The risk increases in locations along creeks or near open space where coyotes roam. But even indoor pets are at risk. Why? Bay Area coyotes are highly infected with heartworm and serve as a reservoir host. The mature mosquito picks up heartworm from the coyote, and then seeks the indoors where it is easier for it to fly.
It's also easy for humans to forget prevention, mostly because they don't realize what's at stake. Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can infect your animal through the pulmonary artery that supplies the lungs, and the right side of the heart, congesting the area, slowing blood flow and compromising your animal’s health.
Typically, they will not show any symptoms of an early heartworm infection. If your dog develops an advanced case of heartworm, you may begin to see them coughing and suffering from exercise exhaustion, weight loss, fainting, coughing up blood, and, in the worst cases, congestive heart failure. If your cat develops heartworm, the symptoms are primarily respiratory in nature, coughing mostly. If your animal presents any of these symptoms, call us for an appointment immediately. Remember, we're now open until 11pm on weekdays.
The good news is that there is a treatment for canine heartworm. The bad news is that treatment is no guarantee—particularly with heartworm disease advanced enough to cause symptoms. The other bad news is there is no treatment available for feline heartworm. Therefore, the best and most affordable approach you can take to heartworm is preventing it altogether. We recommend a monthly year-round treatment purchased directly through your veterinarian.
We all get busy and forget the routine things sometimes. If this means you, or if doing it each month isn’t currently feasible, we recommend that you at least do it during heartworm’s highest risk months of the year (which is now). You may be reading this just in time to protect your beloved canine from a terrible infection.