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March: Heartworm Prevention Month

Heartworm is a parasitic disease that can affect any dog regardless of age, sex or habitat. It is spread by mosquitoes, and tends to have a higher incidence in areas heavily populated by mosquitoes. Dogs are considered the most common host for heartworms, however may also infect more than thirty species of animal (including coyotes, foxes, wolves, domestic cats, ferrets).

Heartworm is the most serious common parasite for dogs because it stresses the dogs heart by restricting blood flow and also damages other internal organs. The heart may enlarge and become weakened due to an increased workload, and congestive heart failure may occur. Left untreated, the disease can be fatal to dogs.

Not only is heartworm dangerous, but the treatment for heartworm disease is dangerous as well. The good news is that most dogs with heartworm can be successfully treated but prevention is the best cure its safer, less expensive, and better for your pet! It is crucial to consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet. All dogs should be tested as preventive medicine may cause severe reactions in dogs that are already hosts to adult heartworms. A dog that is on a preventive medicine should be tested routinely to ensure ongoing protection especially when a dose has been missed or forgotten.