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April is National Heartworm Awareness Month!!

Wow We sure have had a lot to celebrate about this month, right?

How many of you have your dogs tested for heartworm disease annually and give them preventative each month? Now come on, let's be honest. It's easy to forget, I know. But let's make it a point this month to really try to stay on track with our pet's preventative and to make an appointment if we need to update our pet's heartworm test. It only takes a quick call to your family veterinarian where they can perform the simple blood test right there at the clinic! 

Click here to read some really informative information about heartworm disease, how it's spread, the life cycle, and how it's treated.  There are some pretty amazing pictures of actual heartworm infestation as well. If your squeamish at stuff like that you may not want to go to the pictures page! 

Here is the American Heartworm Society's website. Good stuff pet parents! 

This page will take you directly to Canine Heartworm Information. Very informative!

To read even more, please continue here: 

Does Arizona have Heartworms?

Yes! We do! Believe it!

Canine heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. When the mosquito bites the dog it ingests a microscopic, immature form of heartworm, called microfilaria. The microfilaria develops into young, infective larvae that are transmitted to another dog when that mosquito bites another dog.

Therefore, heartworm disease is more prevalent in areas where mosquitoes are numerous – such as near lakes, golf course, swimming pools. In Arizona, with the addition of such water areas, there has been an increase in cases of heartworm. Some common signs of heartworm disease in dogs are coughing, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, weightloss and reduced indurance, although these symptoms can be related to many issues.

Once the adult worms reach the heart, they then live in the right side of the heart and in the nearby blood vessels. Their accumulation impairs the blood’s circulation, which causes damage to the dog’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. It can take several months for this damage to take place before clinical signs occur.

Diagnosis: There is a simple blood test we perform to detect the heartworm larvae after they have been in the dog’s body for at least six months.

Treatment: Unfortunately the only drug that was available has not been for some time and is still unavailable, therefore it is even more important to keep your dog on monthly preventative!

Read here for more information in regards to the shortage of the drug Immiticide:

Repeated veterinary visits for several months, repeated radiographs and blood tests. Prevention: It is easier, less expensice and safer to prevent heartworm disease than it is to treat it. Most preventive medications are given orally on a monthly basis.

Untreated dogs serve as a constant source of infection. Therefore, it is essential that regular, annual heartworm tests be performed, even if the pet is on preventives.

Most Veterinarians recommend using preventive all year round. Please consult with your regular Veterinarian if your pet is not currently taking a preventative and get him tested and started on a monthly program. Please ask your Veterinarian for his/her recommended brand of Heartworm Preventative.
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