How to Prevent Heartworms, Fleas and Ticks

how to prevent heartworms, flea and tick preventionAccording to a forecast by the Companion Animal Parasite Council, or CAPC, 2018 is set to see a marked increase in parasitic disease impacting pets across the continental United States. Due to several years of weather patterns, even areas that don’t have a lot of mosquito activity will be in danger of parasitic transmission and disease.

One of the biggest danger to dogs is Heartworm. Heartworm is a parasite that can be spread to your dog by mosquitoes or other animals outside. This disease is deadly unless it is dealt with using medicine and professional care. Our guide to Heartworm and other parasites can help you and your pet deal with the downsides of summer.

Heartworm and Summer Days

While preventing Heartworm and other parasites is a year-round ordeal, the prevalence and danger of these diseases is a lot greater in the summer time. Due to the significant number of mosquitoes in the air, owners have to be way more diligent during those summer days and nights when it comes to the health of their pet.

Heartworm is a species of roundworm that is known for infecting dogs and their vital organs. Left unchecked, these worms can destroy a dog’s organs and cause death. While veterinary offices have been teaching people about, and helping prevent Heartworm for years, this year will be particularly dangerous.

While mosquitoes mean annoyance and itching for most humans, they can mean something altogether worse for your pet. Climate patterns over the last few years have led to an increase in mosquitoes in areas that aren’t used to high numbers of the pest such as Washington, Oregon or other northern states. This means that people in typically colder areas must be prepared for mosquitoes, and the diseases they carry, this summer.

What To Look For With Your Pets

Prevention starts with knowing what to look for when it comes to parasitic diseases like Heartworm or Lyme. Owners must get into the habit of checking under the fur when their dogs have been outside. You can do this by running your fingers up their fur against the grain slowly and checking the skin underneath. If you find a tick, you must remove it with your fingers, tweezers or pliers while making sure to get both the tick’s head and body.

When it comes to Heartworm, you need to look for other signs. The most typical is coughing during or after exercise. If your dog is coughing a lot or showing signs of lethargy and fatigue which is uncommon for them, they may have Heartworm.

Treating Heartworm

Heartworm in an adult dog is one of the most serious and expensive medical situations your dog may ever come across. Treating full grown heartworms takes weeks and requires expensive medicines as well as major changes to your dog’s routine. In very serious and tragic cases, even after the heartworms are gone, the damage to a dog’s health is catastrophic and leads to death.

When it comes to parasites and parasitic diseases, prevention is the best medicine.

Prevention is Key

There are a number of things you can do to help your dog stay safe and healthy this summer. Some of these can be done at home and others require the assistance of your vet office. First, it is important to check your pet more often in the summer as before, but you can also add some baths to the mix. Getting irritants off your dog’s skin is important in the prevention of parasites and allergies.

On top of home habits, you should use Heartworm prevention pills, flea creams and other vet approved preventative medicines to stop parasites from invading your pet’s body. These monthly or bi-monthly medicines help stop these problems at the best possible time, before problems take root. Heartworm treatments that attack the larvae before they are grown are extremely effective and don’t cause harm to your dog. This is why it is best to catch these early or prevent them all together.

If you have a dog or are thinking about getting one this summer, make sure to take every step you can to keep them healthy and happy this summer. If you have more questions about parasites or want to get Heartworm medicine for your dog, contact us today at Riverside Animal Care.