April is Heartworm Awareness Month!!!

According to the American Heartworm Society, 1 million dogs in the United States have Heartworm infections. Heartworm is a parasite carried by mosquitoes It affects the heart, lungs, and pulmonary vessels of animals. Heartworm causes serious damage to these organ systems that can be fatal. Dogs, cats, and even ferrets can become infected with this awful parasite.

American Heartworm Society estimates that 45% of dogs go without heartworm prevention. The good news is, there is something that can be done to keep your pets safe. As stated by the American Veterinary Medical Association, heartworm infection is almost 100% preventable. With an annual test that takes only minutes, and a once-monthly oral or topical preventative, you can keep your pet heartworm-free.

Heartworm is carried by mosquitoes. Most people associate mosquitoes with more humid environments, however, the Fresno area and its surrounding mountains are considered to be in the 25-50 case per clinic range on the American Heartworm Society’s incidence map. That makes this region a heartworm hot-spot! Even in drought conditions, like we are familiar with in California, or in the cold winter months, mosquitoes still thrive and reproduce. A year-round preventative is the only recommendation for keeping our pets protected.

Heartworm infections in dogs are treated with a series of medications, hospitalization, and injections, which are both painful and expensive, not to mention that your dog must be cage confined to an airline crate for the entire months-long process. Cage confinement during treatment is especially important due to the risk of sometimes fatal complications. In the instance that a cat becomes infected with heartworm, there are no effective treatments like there are for our canine companions, and medical management of symptoms is all that can be done.

If you have any questions about heartworm risks, infection, or prevention, Dr. Porter and all of us here at Bullard Marks Veterinary Medical Center would be happy to answer them and help you find the best preventative option for you and your four legged family members. We strive to help you keep your beloved pets happy and healthy, which is why heartworm prevention is near and dear to our hearts!

Please call Bullard-Marks Vet Med Center at (559) 432-0887 for an appointment