This summer has been buzzing with mosquito's and when you mix mosquito's with your canine friends it means one thing, "Heart-worms". These worms can be deadly to your pet and may happen slowly. The most common places a mosquito tends to bit your dog and or puppy, is the ears nose. Any place that doesn't have any thick fur to protect them is a landing strip for those pesky insects.
Heart-worms are parasites that are in the blood vessels of the heart, it is the mosquito that spread this disease. If left untreated the worms grow and basically wrap themselves around the heart like a cocoon affecting not only the heart, but the arteries and lungs as well. Some of the symptoms are: lethargy, coughing, breathing difficulties and vomiting. If your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms you should consult your vet as soon as possible. Blood test will determine if your pet has heart-worm disease.
There are several things you can do to help protect your pet from becoming infected with heart-worms around your home. Remove any standing water / if the water bowl is outside, change it daily / keep your dog away from muddy and marshy areas / use pet safe insect repellant (try to avoid those with Deet on your pet) / put your dog on a heart-worm preventive medication. Your vet will discuss the best options for your canine and you.
Heart-guard, Sentinel and Advantage are all great products and can be used as soon as your pet determines your dog is free of heart-worms. Most preventive medications are given once a month for a least 6 months, it may be given longer for those that live in warm year round climates.
As always consult your vet for more information and to see what you can do to help keep your pet safe during the summer months.