On October 19, 2014
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As the warm season draws to a close, many dog owners assume that heartworm preventative
can be put away until spring arrives again. Not true!
Heartworm is a life threatening disease caused by the adult stage of the parasite Dirofilaria
immitis. Spread by mosquitoes, it causes inflammation of the pulmonary arteries, may damage
the heart, liver and kidneys, and ultimately causes death if left untreated.
Extremely expensive and painful to treat (arsenicbased injections deep in the muscles),
heartworm disease is simple to prevent with a onceamonth chewable tablet that generally
costs about $6 to $12 a month.
Southern Oregon is the heartworm hotspot of the state. Due to warmer winters in our region as
well as the increasing numbers of heartworm cases in general around the nation, it is no longer
recommended to stop giving heartworm preventative during the winter. Giving preventative
yearround provides consistent protection and keeps pet owners in the habit of remembering to
treat their pet. Many people do not realize that most oral heartworm preventatives also have the
added benefit of protection against two gastrointestinal (GI) parasites, roundworms and
Roundworms and hookworms cause GI disease in animals, but, importantly, are also
considered zoonotic, meaning they may transmit to humans and cause significant disease.
Roundworms can cause liver, lung and eye disease in humans, especially children, while
hookworms can migrate within the skin of people, causing intensely itchy lesions.
Give yourself peace of mind by using heartworm preventatives yearround. Your dog will thank
you, and your family will, too!
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