It’s Friday, it’s springtime, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and we are co-hosting our second Pet Parade blog hop! It’s a great chance to meet new bloggers and gain Social Media friends. The hop is opened all week so you can strut your stuff on any day!
I love this time of the year in Louisiana. The flowers are gorgeous and the weather is wonderful, a lull before the summer temperatures from hell. There is one thing about
the burst of this awesome season that I dread. MOSQUITOS!
Louisiana mosquitos are horrible due to our mild winters. It gets so bad at one point of the summer; it
is difficult to go outside. When you
open the doors, they jet inside and you have to watch for tiny dots on the
walls. I dread it.
|Heartworms have been reported in ALL 50 states.|
The pesky mosquitos are more than just annoying; they are dangerous. The cases of West Nile Virus around the country have risen each year. The virus begins like the flu, but this scary illness can be fatal. The best protection is light-colored long sleeves along with a mosquito spray or lotion. We bought two large Citronella plants for our back porch last summer. I think they provided some relief, but certainly not enough.
Mosquitos don’t just pose a threat to humans; the West Nile virus is a relatively new problem. They bloodsuckers have been trouble for our dogs and cats for over 100 years. Their vicious bite isn’t just itchy it causes heartworms. April is National Heartworm Awareness month. This is a worldwide problem and even with effective preventatives and public awareness, cases of heartworms continue to take its toll on animals.
How do heartworms happen? The adult female heartworms release their young, called microfilariae, into an animal’s bloodstream. When another mosquito bites that animal, it becomes infected with the microfilariae when they take their blood meal from the infected animal. Over the next couple of weeks, the microfilariae mature into the infective larval stage within the mosquito. Then, the mosquito bites another dog or cat and the infective larvae enter through the bite. It takes a little over 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. If not treated, the worms can live up to 7
|A dog's heart should be filled with love,|
In the early stages of heartworms, there are usually no symptoms. The number of heartworms increase over months and years as the animal is repeatedly bitten by infected mosquitos. Once a dog is heavily infected, they shows signs of fatigue, a mild persistent cough, a reluctance to move or exercise, weight loss, along with a loss of appetite.
Diagnosing a cat is not as easy. Many of their symptoms mimic other feline diseases. Chronic signs in a cat are gagging, vomiting, and difficult breathing. Early signs in felines, when the heartworms enter the blood vessels and are carried to the pulmonary arteries are often misdiagnosed as feline asthma or allergic bronchitis. These are actually a new syndrome known as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD).
Your vet should draw blood from your pet to check for heartworms. This is a standard test although it may not show heartworm infection newer than 6 months. If your dog tests positive for heartworms, there is treatment available. It is expensive and very hard on the dog. There is no treatment available for cats infected with heartworms. Your pet should be on a heartworm preventative all year round. If you live in a climate that is incredibly cold, you may be able to go without it for a couple of months, but I would not advise it. Don’t play Russian roulette with your best friend’s life. That is the thing about heartworms; it is nearly 100% avoidable. There is absolutely no reason for any dog or cat to suffer a horrible death because of heartworms. If your vet doesn’t recommend a preventative for your pet, ask about one. Remember, your pet can’t ask for themselves. You accept the responsibility when you bring a dog or cat into your home.
*The information and graphics are from the American Heartworm Society. You can read more about heartworms on their site http://www.heartwormsociety.org/
Thanks to my co-hosts for the Pet Parade; Rascal and Rocco, Jan’s Funny Farm, Bionic Basil’s Blog, and Love is being owned by a Husky.
|Click to see this week's Featured Pet Photo|
Joining the Pet Parade is easy and fun. We have no rules, because that’s how we roll. If your pets are big, medium, or small and squawks, barks, mews, or crawls, this is the hop for you! We post your photo to Pinterest and follow you on your Social Media site, don’t be afraid…we won’t bite! Be sure to visit these other blogs for great posts and pics!