Prevention is the best treatment against fleas, ticks and heartworm
Summer is around the corner, meaning now is a great time for a reminder about preventable diseases and easy protection for your dogs and cats. Fleas and ticks can carry a wide variety of diseases and illnesses that may affect both your dogs and cats. In addition, your dog is susceptible to heartworm disease, especially in the warmer months. The good news is both of these diseases are preventable. Remember, prevention is the best treatment.
Flea and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are more than just annoying, they can carry a number of diseases that they spread between animals. In addition, flea bites can cause flea allergy dermatitis, an allergic reaction to proteins in flea saliva. In turn, this could lead to hair loss or other skin problems, and in severe cases, could cause issues in your pet’s blood stream. Ticks can transmit tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, and expose your family by bringing that tick into your house. These diseases and issues can usually be avoided by using preventive flea and tick control medicine.¹
Using flea and tick prevention
Talk with your pet’s veterinarian about the proper time frame for your cat or dog to take prevention. Generally, fleas peak during the warmer months, however every pet may have different needs. There are many prevention products on the market, ranging from topical to chewable pills. Work with your vet to find the product that is best for your pet.²
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm being transferred through the bite of a mosquito. The worms are called “heartworms” because the adults live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.
An infected mosquito bites a dog. After the bite, it takes 6 to 7 months for the infective larvae to mature into adult heartworms and release their offspring into the dog’s bloodstream. Heartworm is not contagious; a dog cannot catch the disease from being near an infected dog. The disease is only spread through the bite of a mosquito.³
Signs and Symptoms
Veterinarians use blood tests to check a dog for heartworm disease. The earliest heartworm disease can be detected in a dog’s bloodstream is about 5 months after it is bitten by an infected mosquito.
The symptoms of heartworm may not be obvious and can vary based on the dog’s activity level, how long they have been infected, and the number of worms in their heart. If not treated, heartworm disease will progress and damage the dog’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys, eventually causing death.³
Preventing Heartworm Disease in Dogs
Annual testing of all dogs on heartworm prevention is recommended. Talk with your veterinarian about the best time for your dog’s annual heartworm test. Treatment for heartworm is not easy on a dog or on the owner’s pocket book. Therefore, prevention is the best treatment! There are a range of FDA-approved products, all require a veterinarian’s prescription. Talk with your veterinarian about the best option for you and your pet!
Prevention is the Best Treatment
We don’t have that many warm months here in Minnesota, so we want you and your pet to have the best possible summer. The best way to do that is by preventing some of the possible diseases that fleas, ticks and mosquitos may carry. Talk with your pet’s veterinarian and find the prevention measures that work for both your pet and your household.
Interested in fostering or adopting a cat or dog like Groot with Twin Cities Pet Rescue?
Visit our adoptable pets page to find more information and start the process today!