Heartworm disease is a life-threatening illness that is spread through the bite of a mosquito. Pets that become infected develop adult heartworms in their hearts and major blood vessels, eventually causing impaired lung function and heart weakness. If left untreated, it will lead to congestive heart failure and death.
By the time symptoms appear, a great deal of damage has usually already been done. While it is possible to cure heartworm disease once an animal has become infected, it is not without risk. In order to kill all the adult worms in the infected animal, he or she is given a powerful medicine that can cause harmful side effects. Depending on the severity of the infection, complications can also be a problem as the worms die. Read more about The High Cost of Heartworm Diseasein this article from HealthyPet.
The good news is that heartworm disease is preventable. Pleasant Plains Animal Hospital recommends year-round heartworm prevention for both cats and dogs. There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including daily and monthly tablets and chewables, monthly topicals, and a six-month injectable product. These products are extremely effective and, when administered properly on a timely schedule, heartworm infection can be prevented.
Fleas are one of the most common parasites found on animals. They can cause your pet considerable discomfort, and itching and scratching can develop into painful skin irritations and infections. Fleas can also transmit some infections and diseases, such as tapeworm and cat scratch fever, to both pets and people.
Adult female fleas lay thousands of eggs and those eggs are dropped wherever the host animal goes. The warm temperature and humidity in homes provides a favorable microclimate for fleas to multiply and infest your home. Full-fledged infestations are very difficult to get rid of, sometimes taking months.
To keep your pet and home free of fleas, we suggest:
- Frequent vacuuming and laundering of pet bedding
- Routine examinations for fleas and flea dirt
- Year-round preventive flea medicines
To learn how to examine your pet for fleas, view this VetVid video. If you discover you have a flea infestation, it is best to contact us for safe, effective treatments available through our in-house pharmacy.
Ticks are not only a nuisance and irritant for your dog or cat, but also they can carry a variety of deadly diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis (a bacterial infection), and babesiosis (a blood disorder).
Many pet owners, especially those who live in urban areas, tend to be complacent about tick prevention, thinking that ticks are only a problem in rural, wooded areas of the United States. The fact is, ticks are very prevalent on South Staten Island. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, New York was on a list of 12 states that accounted for 94% of the reported Lyme disease cases. Indoor cats can even be at risk of tick bites, especially if they come in contact with other untreated animals. Therefore, the best prevention is the use of tick preventive products in addition to a vaccine protocol that maximizes your pet’s disease protection.