American Heartworm Society Urges Pet Protection
WILMINGTON, Del., Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — If you think that fall signals the end of heartworm season, think again. The American Heartworm Society (AHS) cautions the pet-owning public that heartworm disease is not solely a summer threat.
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To help pet owners spread the word that heartworm is a year-round problem, as well as one of the most common diseases in pets, AHS created a video message that pet owners can forward to their friends. The “Is Your Pet Protected?” video emphasizes that this deadly disease is easy to prevent–but knowledge is needed to help all pet owners understand the importance of year-round protection and the importance of prevention.
“Heartworm is endemic in many parts of the United States, due to conditions that favor the proliferation of mosquitoes that carry the disease and the high reservoirs of animals carrying heartworm larvae,” says AHS president Wallace Graham, DVM. Meanwhile, he adds, the mosquitoes that carry heartworm disease breed in standing water, and late-summer weather events such as hurricanes and heavy storms have left plenty of standing water in their wake.
If you are a pet owner, here are additional facts you should know about heartworm disease:
- Heartworm is everywhere. According to a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 veterinary hospitals conducted by AHS in 2010, heartworm was confirmed in all 50 states.
- Cats get heartworm disease, too. Dogs are more susceptible than cats, but cats can become seriously ill from just a few worms. The bottom line: if you live in an area where heartworm disease in dogs is present, your cat should get preventive medication, too.
- Treatment is not a “fallback.” While heartworm disease in dogs can usually be treated, veterinarians have limited medication supplies, the treatment carries risks (careful monitoring and cage confinement are required for a month or more) and treatment can cost as much as $1,000. Meanwhile, there is no effective medication for treating cats with heartworm disease.
If owners fall back on heartworm prevention simply because of a season or date on the calendar, they may inadvertently put their pets at greater risk for developing the disease, Graham cautions. For more information, owners should talk to their veterinarian or visit www.heartwormsociety.org.
About the American Heartworm Society
The mission of the American Heartworm Society is to lead the veterinary profession and the public in the understanding of heartworm disease.
SOURCE American Heartworm Society