All The Joys Of Summer

Long days, easy nights. Time spent with family and friends. Tubing down the river or swimming at the beach. Hikes, biking, or taking a long walk. All the joys of summer and more. On the other hand, bugs and other creepy crawlies abound. They may simply induce an “ugh” response in many of us, but some of these creepy crawlies can spread disease to both man and beast.

Pet Parasites

Most of us are very familiar with ways to protect ourselves from insect-related illnesses, but we may need a refresher about the best ways to protect our pets. Parasites like ticks and heartworms can cause severe health issues for our furry friends. Understanding how to prevent and treat these threats is essential for any pet owner.

Why Are Ticks And Heartworms Dangerous For Pets?

Both ticks and heartworm are parasites, which means that their food comes from a living host. Ticks are small, blood-sucking arachnids that attach to pets and feed on their blood, while heartworms are parasitic worms transmitted by mosquito bites. Both can cause extremely serious and even life-threatening illnesses.

Ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis, which can cause:

  • Fever
  • Limping
  • Joint damage
  • Swollen joints
  • Poor appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

 These tick-borne diseases can even lead to kidney disease and kidney failure.

Heartworms are transmitted via mosquitos that have bitten another animal infected with the disease. They can live inside a pet’s heart for up to seven years. Heartworm disease can be extremely serious and even fatal. Symptoms of heartworm disease include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Fatigue after moderate activity
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swollen abdomen due to heart failure

Both ticks and mosquitos are more prevalent during the warmer months, but pets need year-round protection from them to ensure that they’re safe from the diseases they carry.

Preventing Ticks And Heartworm

Prevention is always worth a pound of cure, and there are several non-medical things you can do to make sure that your pet is protected. You should:

  • Make sure the bushes in your yard are trimmed
  • Keep your grass short
  • Clean up rotting leaves and leaf debris
  • Keep your pet away from areas of standing water
  • Maintain bird baths or fountains that might attract mosquitos
  • Consider using professional tick or mosquito pest control options in your yard
  • Consider using natural insect repellants on your pet

The best form of prevention is prophylactic medication, which your veterinarian can provide. These are available as:

  • Chewable medication
  • Pills
  • Topical medications
  • Injectable medications

You and your veterinarian can work together to determine the easiest, most effective treatment for your pet.

Minnesota Veterinary Hospital

Minnesota Veterinary Hospital in Shoreview, MN, can provide the medication needed to protect your pet from ticks and heartworms, which can provide you with the peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can for your pet bestie. You can even order preventive (and other) medications directly from our website for easy delivery directly to your home. Contact us today to make sure your furry friend is protected and well this spring and summer.

Image credit: PicsbyFran / Pixabay