Your pet can contract heartworms at any time of year, and you might not even realize they have contracted heartworms for several months. But summer is definitely the worst time of year for transmission of the tiny parasites, because the larvae are spread through mosquito bites. Here’s how to stay extra vigilant against heartworms this summer.
Discourage mosquitoes from setting up camp in your yard. The more mosquitoes there are, and the more your dog or cat is bitten by them, the higher the chances of heartworms later on. That probably seems like common sense to you. But there’s a lot you can do to keep the mosquito population under control in your yard.
Since mosquitoes breed over water, make sure you avoid any collected moisture around your yard. That means cleaning out clogged gutters so that water can flow freely, emptying baby pools when you’re finished using them, dumping out buckets of water, filling holes that create puddles, and so on. They can still fly over from the neighbor’s yard, of course, but if everyone does their part, we can reduce the mosquito population.
Keep pets indoors. The summer heat can be extra taxing on pets anyway, and predators and vehicle traffic pose dangers year-round. Keep your cat or dog indoors this summer, and they are less likely to come into contact with mosquitoes. However, the bugs can definitely make their way indoors, so you can’t rely on these first two steps to completely prevent heartworms.
Use heartworm prevention. It is important that before starting heartworm prevention, your pet is tested for heartworm. The blood test can be performed in the hospital in 15 minutes. If the test is negative, then you can start a preventative that is administered once a month. This is obviously the best way to prevent heartworms and the deadly damage that they can cause.
Over time, heartworms will cause significant illness and eventually kill your pet. This is definitely a situation to take seriously. Come to see us for your regular appointment, and we will administer a de-worming treatment to your pet that addresses both heartworms and intestinal worms.