Heartworm Awareness Month

In April, pet organizations nationwide work to bring attention to the prevention of Heartworm Disease during National Heartworm Awareness Month.

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What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that affects dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, and it is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it could carry microscopic baby worms to your healthy pet. Because mosquitoes can easily get inside your home, even exclusively indoor pets are at risk.

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms, and if not detected early, heartworms can multiply inside a dog’s heart, lungs and associated vessels until there are hundreds of worms, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and other organ damage. Symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear until the disease is advanced, and may include a persistent cough, lethargy, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Because cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, it is less likely that worms will reach adulthood in a cat, and if they do, they will not be as numerous as in a dog. However, even immature heartworms can cause serious health problems for cats, including respiratory disease. Signs of heartworm in cats may include coughing, loss of appetite, vomiting, or weight loss.

How is Heartworm treated?

Treatment for heartworm disease in dogs can be lengthy and expensive, which is why prevention is key. If your dog does become infected, treatment might include medications, surgery and serial blood tests.

Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy to treat heartworm in cats, but close veterinary care in these cases is still essential.

Prevention is the Best Treatment

Dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm at their regular veterinary visits, and your vet can prescribe monthly preventatives for you to administer to your pet. It is important to stay on top of preventative medications to avoid a gap that could leave your pet vulnerable to infection.

For more information on how to protect your pet from heartworm disease, please visit the Heartworm Society website.

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Be sure to Thank your local Animal Care & Control Officers this week!

A12353062 - angry dog biting a african american dog catcherpril 8-14, 2018 is Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week, do something special for your ACOs this week. Send them balloons, flowers or a nice card, letting them know that you appreciate all they do for their and your community.

Do you know all that they do and are responsible for? Here are some highlights:

  • ACOs are public safety officers dealing with dangerous situations on a regular basis to protect your community.
  • ACOs help all kinds of animals (domestic and wild) in all kinds of situations – they may be lost, sick, injured, starved, misused or need transportation.
  • ACOs apprehend and impound loose dogs and/or livestock.
  • They assist citizens with the removal of nuisance wildlife (skunks, raccoons, and squirrels) by setting up and maintaining live traps.
  • ACOs also care for and adopt out homeless pets who need shelter and new families.
  • As one of your community’s animal welfare organizations, your city or county animal control collaborates with private non-profit animal groups to pull together all available resources for homeless pets.
  • Rabies is under control in the United States because of ACOs . They enforce the laws and statutes which protect people and animals from rabies and other life-threatening diseases.
  • ACOs will mediate neighborhood disputes over animal issues/concerns through communication, education, and enforcement
  • ACOs cooperate with other agencies/officers, such as Police Officers, Wildlife Officers and Sheriff’s Deputies when necessary.

To reiterate – in a given week (or even a single day), an ACO may rescue a kitten trapped in a wall, catch and relocate a possum or native snake, work with local police on a drug raid, help a lost dog find his people (and vice versa), retrieve a scared or confused horse or cow from morning traffic, adopt a homeless cat to her new family, and testify in court against an abusive pet owner. Whew!

So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You ACOs for all that you do!