Cases of Heartworm Disease can be found in all 50 states. Both cats and dogs are equally at risk. The fact that your cat is an indoor cat doesn’t mean that it won’t get bitten by a mosquito. Mosquitos find their way into our homes buzzing about in search of a victim on which to feed. Wherever you find mosquitos, you’ll find Heartworm Disease. Perhaps there was a time when Arizona was free of the disease, but that is no longer the case. All it takes is one heartworm infected pet or wildlife creature to be bitten by a mosquito. That mosquito then carries the disease to another cat, dog or wildlife creature. Hundreds of thousands of cases of Heartworm Disease are reported every year. A simple blood test will tell you if your pet tests positive for Heartworm Disease.
If your pet becomes infected with Heartworm Disease, you may not see any sign of illness until it has reached advanced stages. Some pets never show any signs of being infected, until it is too late. Signs of heartworm infection may include coughing, difficulty breathing and lethargy. Treatment for Heartworm Disease involves a product that contains arsenic. In addition to the treatment, your pet will have to remain inactive for weeks afterward. It is risky, expensive and may not be successful. Heartworm Disease can be fatal to your pet. Year-round treatment is recommended by the American Heartworm Society and the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Heartgard is recommended by Dr. Sura and is the #1 choice of veterinarians in the prevention of Heartworm Disease.
In addition to the prevention of Heartworm Disease, Heartgard is also used to treat intestinal parasites. The most common types are Roundworms and Hookworms. Dogs and cats of any age can get roundworms or hookworms, but young puppies are the most vulnerable and it is often contracted from their mother. While a pet may show no sign of infection, symptoms may include vomiting, loss of appetite or severe weight loss. Heavy infections in young puppies and kittens may be fatal. Roundworms and Hookworms are also transmittable to humans.
Ticks and fleas can also create health issues for your pets. Ehrlichiosis or tick fever is a tick transmitted disease. The brown dog tick transmits the disease as it feeds on the dog’s blood. The disease has two phases, acute and chronic. Clinical signs of the acute phase of Ehrlichiosis are non-specific and may include listlessness, swollen lymph nodes, anorexia, fever, nervousness and discharges from the nose and eyes. Signs of the chronic phase may include those of the acute phase as well as nosebleeds, other abnormal bleeding, weight loss and eye problems. In both phases, the damage done to the body relates to the destruction and decreased production of all blood cells. This leads to anemia, decreased resistance to disease, infection and abnormal bleeding. Accurate diagnosis can only be confirmed through bloodwork. The acute phase of Ehrlichiosis usually responds to treatment within a short period of time. However, the chronic phase is difficult to treat and can be fatal. Treatment in both cases requires administration of specific antibiotics and may require other supportive care.
The best approach for tick control is twofold. First, protect your pet with either Frontline or Certifect. Frontline is an excellent choice to prevent the transmission of disease to your dog by killing ticks before they can transmit disease. Certifect is the optimum choice if your dog already has ticks, since it begins killing the ticks within the first six hours of application. Next, you’ll want to make your yard unfriendly to ticks by keeping grassy areas short, bushes trimmed and minimizing mulch and leaf litter. When walking your pet, avoid areas that might be inviting to ticks.
To check your pet for ticks, look and feel for them as you brush, pet and play with your cat or dog. You’re likely to feel the tick bump before you can see it. Pay special attention to the head, neck and paws, since these are areas that ticks prefer to attach themselves. If you find a tick on your pet, contact us immediately so that the appropriate treatment can begin as soon as possible.
While flea infestation is less common in Arizona than in other parts of the country, your pet may still be at risk for infestation if allowed in undeveloped areas. Outdoor cats are especially prone to flea infestation. Excessive scratching may be the first sign that your pet has a flea problem. Fleas can cause Flea Allergy Dermatitis and anemia as fleas continue to feast on your pet.
To check for fleas, look for black specks (flea dirt) on your pet or its bed. You may also run a metal comb through the coat, making sure that you reach all the way to the skin. If the comb gathers black specks you may have found flea dirt. Another method in checking for fleas is to place a white paper towel or sheet of paper beneath your pet and rub your hands through its coat. If black specks fall on the towel, it may be flea dirt. If you find live fleas with either of these methods, drown them in soapy water before they can jump back on your pet.
Apply Frontline Plus for the prevention or treatment of flea infestation. Frontline Plus works on contact to kill fleas already on your pet and helps prevent new fleas from making their home there. If your pet has fleas, they’re likely thriving elsewhere in your home. Check carpeting, bedding and furniture or anywhere in the house your pet has been for flea infestation. While Frontline Plus will treat your pet, you may need to consult a pest control specialist to properly and effectively treat your home.
Whether it’s Heartworm Disease or Tick and Flea issues, prevention is always the most cost effective and helps to insure that your pet live a longer, healthier life. Currently there is a $15 rebate if you purchase 12 doses of Heartgard. If you purchase 3 doses of Frontline you get 1 dose free, and with a purchase of 6 doses you get 2 free doses. With a purchase of 3 doses of Certifect, there is a $5 coupon and for 6 doses there is a $12 coupon. We have coupons and rebate forms available for all of these products.