Did you forget?? April is Heartworm Awareness Month and HSNEGA wants to help you protect your pets! As part as our month-long series, Think 12, we wanted to discuss some common arguments you might hear about heartworms.
It’s important to know what statements you should take as truth when it comes it heartworms. Unfortunately, some of the most commonly-heard “facts” are not always accurate! By understanding what might be fact,and what might be fiction, you can better protect your pet as well as aid other pet owners’ awareness. With the help of the American Heartworm Society, we’ve put together some of the most argued statements on heartworms, and whether or not you should believe them!
Fact or Fiction: I could tell if my dog had heartworm disease.
Fiction! It is not always obvious that your dog may be infected with heartworms. In fact, because the infection can take so long to develop, many dogs show very few signs of something being amiss. Later in the disease’s cycle, a dog might start to show symptoms such as a cough, fatigue, decreased appetite or weight loss, but all of these symptoms can be unclear without specific testing.
Fact or Fiction: Heartworms don’t live in my area.
Fiction! Though this argument is heard less in the Southern U.S., it’s still a common misconception. Incidence does vary by region, as climate can increase likelihood of mosquitos, but hartworm disease has been diagnosed in canines in all 50 states. No state or region is 100% risk-free from disease.
Fact or Fiction: Heartworm disease is difficult to treat.
Fact! Though the treatment has become more effective throughout the years, it is still a complicated process. During treatment, a dog’s exercise must be restricted and they must be kept quiet, a feat any dog owner knows is not always easy! If activity is not well-restricted, it can pose other complications due to decomposing worms in the bloodstream.
Fact or Fiction: Treating for ticks, fleas or other parasites also prevents heartworm infection.
Fiction! While some prevention medication is effective against multiple parasites, there is no one product is effective with every parasite. Some preventatives protect against external parasites such as fleas and ticks, while others protect against internal parasites like roundworms and hookworms. Combination preventative is available, but be sure to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best plan for your pet.
Fact or Fiction: Dogs taking heartworm preventative should be tested every year.
Fact! All dogs should be tested annually, regardless if they’re on preventative or not. It is important to ensure your protective program is working. Just one missed dose, a dose given late, spit out or topical medication rubbed off can put your pet at risk. Better to be safe than sorry!
For more helpful information about Heartworm Disease, click through to the Think 12 Resource Center by the American Heartworm Society! They have plenty of info to help you to remember to Think 12 and brush up on your heartworm facts!
Remember, 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 Digital Communication Intern