Heads up… this is no April Fool’s joke! April 1 is a significant day here at HSNEGA for a different reason; the month of April is Heartworm Awareness Month, a cause that is very near and dear to our mission. All month long, HSNEGA will be offering deals on heartworm preventative, as well as many other educational resources to aid your heartworm awareness!
We aren’t fooling around when we tell you that heartworms is something all pet parents should educate themselves on. According to the American Heartworm Society, more than 1 million pets in the U.S. currently have heartworm disease. Additionally, while all 50 states are affected by heartworms, prevention is especially important in the South, mainly because the disease is spread by mosquitoes.
The warm and humid Georgia climate is unfortunately the perfect hotbed for pest-borne diseases, meaning that when you think about your pets this month, we also encourage you to Think 12! Think 12 is an ongoing initiative of the American Heartworm Society that encourages pet owners everywhere to administer heartworm preventive 12 months a year and test pets for heartworm every 12 months. 12 is a pretty easy number to remember, right?
Okay, so you give preventative 12 months a year… why should you test annually? The simple answer here is forgetfulness. Obviously, no human is perfect, and missing a dose of medication, or even giving it late, can leave your pet unprotected. Even if you can ensure excellent timing, sometimes a dog may spit out it’s medication, vomit it back up, or rub off a topical preventative. Since a prescription for preventative must be renewed yearly anyway, testing annually just makes sense. After all, the reward is better than the risk in this case.
If you’ve gotten to this point and you’re still wondering what exactly the risk is, that’s okay. Heartworms, as stated earlier, are carried by mosquitoes and can be given to your pet when the buzzing nuisance stops for a tasty snack. While heartworms undergo part of their life cycle inside the mosquito, they finish their final two months inside an animal. The life-cycle can take up to months, and a heartworm must be fully mature to be detectable on a heartworm test.
Heartworms work their way through a host’s tissues and arrive in the heart approximately 90 days after transmission. They then grow rapidly in length and size, and can live in the heart for 5-7 years unless caught. As our friends at PetMD put it, “Think of a garden hose. If pieces of debris block the hose, pressure builds up due to the obstruction of the flow of water. This is what happens to the heart and blood vessels when more and more heartworms congregate within the right ventricle. The smaller your pet (the host) is, the fewer worms it takes to cause a problem.”
None of this sounds fun, right? We didn’t think so. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking that your pet doesn’t need testing and preventative this year! During the month of April, HSNEGA is offering $10 off all heartworm tests (regularly $25, so $15 per test), and our lowest prices ever on Sentinel Spectrum! Additionally, when you buy a year’s worth of preventative at our already low prices, you receive a $50 rebate. With these deals, you can’t afford NOT to Think 12!
Appointments are required for heartworm tests and can be made through our Wellness Clinic. Appointments are offered Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To make an appointment, call 770-532-6617, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Canines must be 6 months or older for a heartworm test.
Written by Bridget Bott, HSNEGA Communications Intern