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Beware of Heartworm and Other Pests!

Spring, in many areas of the country, means warmer, more pleasant weather. While you are enjoying those balmier temperatures, however, be sure you keep in mind what else spring brings...fleas, ticks, and those pesky mosquitoes that can infect your pet with heartworm.

If your pet isn’t on year-round heartworm preventive medication, it’s absolutely essential that you remember to restart his or her medication when the weather gets warmer, says Dr. Matthew Miller, a veterinary cardiologist and specialist in heartworm disease at Texas A&M University.

Spring is the time of year when breaks in prevention most commonly occur, Dr. Miller cautions, so it’s a good time of year for owners to be reminded that they need to restart their pet’s medication if they are not on a year-round program. Spring is also a good time to have your dog tested for heartworm. Most Veterinarians today recommend an annual test - to make sure that your prevention program has been 100% effective. Sometimes, owners will forget a dose by accident or just start their dog’s preventive medication too late. Heartworm infection, although it is something you absolutely want to avoid in the first place, is treatable should your dog become infected. Cats, too, need to be on a heartworm prevention program.

Although it has been known that heartworm can infect cats for quite some time, veterinarians only recently have realized just how common it is. Preventive medication is available for cats just as it is for dogs.

Heartworm is doubly important to prevent in cats, because the treatment that is used for dogs is much more dangerous in cats. If you have questions about heartworm disease be sure to ask your VCA veterinarian!


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