The Importance of Year-Round Heartworm Prevention

When it comes to heartworm prevention, there is a common misconception about exactly how many months of the year you should be giving a pet his medicine. Since heartworms are typically transmitted to pets by mosquitoes, many people think that their dogs Heartworm Prevention - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal Hospitaland cats do not need to take their heartworm preventive medication when these parasites are dormant during the fall and winter seasons. However, this is far from the best advice when it comes to protecting your pet from heartworms. In fact, the American Heartworm Society, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and other national experts strongly recommend that you should give your pet his heartworm preventive medicine every month all year long as well as have him tested for heartworms every 12 months. Since 2011, 5 Points Animal Hospital has been providing comprehensive and preventive veterinary services to the four-legged residents of East Nashville, and we are here to keep your pet safe from heartworm disease throughout the year. We would like to tell you more about why it is so important to make sure you take heartworm prevention seriously every month of the year.

What is heartworm disease and how does my pet get it?

Affecting dogs, cats, ferrets, and other mammals, heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms that live in the hearts, lungs, and associated blood vessels of these animals. Severe lung disease, heart failure, and other organ damage can result from this serious and potentially deadly disease. The larvae of the heartworms are transmitted to pets and wild animals through the bites of infected mosquitoes. After maturing for six months, the larvae develop into adult heartworms, which can live in dogs for five to seven years and in cats for two to three years. These lifespans mean that the number of worms can increase each mosquito season. This is why it is so important to give your pet heartworm prevention medication every month.

If heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, why do I still need to give my pet preventive medicine against heartworms in the winter?

According to the American Heartworm Society, heartworm prevention medication works retroactively, so it can eliminate new infections even if they were transmitted months earlier. Additionally, you should also be sure to have your pet tested for heartworms every 12 months, even if he is on year-round preventive treatment. An infection opportunity could be created if you miss a dose, are late with a dose, or your pet spits out or rubs off his medication.

At 5 Points Animal Hospital, we carry a wide variety of heartworm prevention medication in our East Nashville clinic as well as in our online pharmacy. The best way to stay on top of protecting your pet from this deadly disease is to follow a routine schedule of wellness and preventive care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your pet.

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on The Importance of Year-Round Heartworm Prevention

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