Summer is the time for cookouts, family fun, and outdoor activities. As a fellow dog owner, there is nothing better then playing with our dog, Indy, outside in our yard during the cool summer evenings. But with all that fun comes a hidden danger: Heartworms.
What are Heartworms?
Heartworms are parasitic worms that live in the blood stream of your dog or cat. They feed off of your animals blood, and multiply, infesting organs such as the heart and lungs, causing massive organ failure and blood clots.
How are they Transmitted?
The most common form of transmission for heartworm is parasites that feed off of your animals blood, such as mosquitos. When mosquitos bite an infected dog they ingest the animal's infected blood that carry heart worm larvae, they then carry the parasite with them, injecting the heartworm larvae into a new host when biting another animal.
What can I do to Prevent Them?
There are a couple of simple steps for the prevention of heartworm:
- Keep your lawn mowed. Often parasites such as mosquitos & ticks hang out in long, unkept parts of your lawn. Mowing these areas will destroy breeding grounds.
- Make sure you have no areas of standing water near where your animal plays. Mosquitos breen in large areas of standing water. Proper drainage can help alleviate this problem.
- Give your dog heartworm preventative pills. They have dosages that can be given monthly, every-other month, or every six months. Speak to your vet to find out more.
- Speak to your lawn care company about a preventative Bug Barrier treatment for your lawn to eliminate any parasitic insects such as fleas, ticks, or mosquitos.
How do I Know if my pet has Heartworm, and are Their Treatments?
Heartworm is often difficult to spot in an infected animal. For both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes years and after repeated mosquito bites.
Recently infected dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough, reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise, reduced appetite and weight loss.
Weed Pro's Pet Safety Guide
Want more safety tips for your pet? While camping with your dog may pose risks, improper lawn care or access to large amounts of fertilizer can harm your pet. Download our FREE eGUIDE to learn more!