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Pet News Alert:  Heartworms are on the rise this year!

With unseasonably high temperatures throughout most of the country this winter, the American Heartworm Association and The Companion Animal Parasite Council indicate that heartworms are at a near record risk this year.  According to a recent publication:

‘Through April 2012, the forecast calls for the following levels of heartworm populations in five U.S. regions: “extremely high” in the South; “high” in the Northeast and Midwest; “moderate to higher-than-normal” in the Northwest; and “persistent spikes” in parts of the West.’

Veterinary Practice News
April 23, 2012

They cause pulmonary and coronary issues in both dogs and cats and are one of the most preventable forms of death in pets.  Last year’s mosquito bites could be this year’s heartworm. Take action!

Have you had Fido or Fluffy tested this year? Have you and your vet discussed a preventative plan?

Heartworm Life Cycle

As shown in the graphic above, the heartworm can reproduce rapidly in just a few months following a bite from an infected mosquito. With dogs and cats of any age and breed being susceptible, and tapeworms reaching up to 14 inches in length with a lifespan of 7 years in dogs (2-3 in cats), it’s easy to see how dangerous these parasites are to pets: they literally can fill the heart and that blockage can be fatal. It’s a case where the best cure is actually prevention. Be sure to have your pet tested annually and to use a reputable brand of heartworm prevention. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

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