Heartworm prevention is important for pet owner’s all year round. It may seem unnecessary to worry about mosquitoes in the fall or winter. However, in our area mosquitoes have the ability to remain active all year round. Skimping on heartworm preventative, just because it may be cooler can put your pet at risk for an infection.
It is important to understand how heartworm preventatives work in order to understand why a dose every month is necessary. A bite from one infected mosquito is enough to transfer heartworm larvae to your pet. This information can be slightly alarming, especially with the number of mosquitoes in our area. However, heartworm preventatives work by killing parasites that may have been transmitted to your pet the month before. Consider this scenario: September’s heartworm preventative kills parasites that your pet came into contact with in August. Therefore, if you miss September’s dose, the parasites in your pet will remain and have the chance to grow. This is why year-round monthly preventative is so important!
Mosquitoes are cold-blooded animals that hibernate when temperatures consistently drop below 50 degrees. In our area, even in the fall and winter temperatures do not typically drop below 50 degrees long enough to put the mosquito population into hibernation. The only months where the average high temperature is lower than 50 degrees are January and February. Even in those months we can get periods of warmer days where the mosquitoes will become active again.
Another added benefit of making sure your pet is protected against heartworms every month is protection against some intestinal parasites. Some preventatives (including Heartgard) also prevent your pet from getting the intestinal parasites; roundworms and hookworms. Therefore, even in the cooler months by continuing preventatives your pet remains protected.
If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s heartworm preventative regime; or if your pet needs to be tested for heartworms please call us today at 804-642-5740 to set up an appointment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]