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How Climate Can Affect the Risk of Heartworm in Pets

Heartworm is a serious and potentially fatal disease that affects pets, especially dogs. It’s caused by parasites that are transmitted through mosquitoes. Do you want to know how you can help protect your beloved companions from this dangerous disease? Understanding how climate can affect the risk of heartworm in pets is essential for pet owners to take preventive measures. Read on to learn about how climate influences heartworm risk. This post will also provide tips for reducing your pet’s chances of being infected.


How Heartworm Infects Your Pet

Heartworm disease is an incredibly dangerous condition that can be fatal for animals, mainly dogs. It is caused by Dirofilaria immitis. These are small worms that are transmitted through mosquito bites. These parasites grow up in the heart, lungs, and their related blood vessels of an animal suffering from the infection. Heartworm disease can lead to severe lung damage, heart failure, and even death.

Canines are the definitive hosts for these worms. This means they will reach adulthood, breed, and reproduce while living inside your pet. On the other hand, a mosquito serves as the intermediate host. These worms must spend a brief time inside a mosquito to cause heartworm disease.


Understanding the Link Between the Two

Heartworm usually affects those in warmer climates and areas with high incidences of standing water. Nevertheless, it’s present in every state and can be found virtually anywhere. The American Heartworm Society has tracked the prevalence of heartworm in the U.S. over an 18-year period. The results from 2001 to 2019 indicate an overall increase, particularly in the Southeast.

Climate change is an essential factor to consider when discussing heartworms. Major weather-related disasters like hurricanes or floods can significantly promote the growth of mosquitoes. As mentioned, mosquitoes are carriers of heartworm. With more favorable climatic conditions, mosquitoes could breed more easily.


What Can Be Done to Keep Your Pet Safe

Climate change has devastating effects on both humans and the habitats of domestic and wild animals. Fortunately, there are several things you can do at home to protect your pet against heartworm disease.

Along with regular preventative medication, taking your pup for an annual wellness exam is important. Heartworm testing is usually done during the checkup and can be a great measure for keeping your pet safe. Additionally, it would be best if you took steps to keep your home mosquito-free.

This may come as something other than a priority. But mosquitoes can be a real danger when opening and closing your doors as it is common for mosquitos to linger. Remember that these insects breed in places where there is stagnant water. Find time to clean your yard and empty the pots, buckets, and toys left outside.

It’s also essential to reduce bug infestation in your yard. Insecticide spray is an effective way to go. But ensure you pick a pet-safe product and follow the instructions as suggested by the manufacturer. Aside from yard treatments, various types of mosquito repellent are also available to protect your furry friend.

Mosquitoes carrying heartworm can transmit the infection to your pet with just one bite. There’s an easy way to keep your dog or cat safe, by administering monthly heartworm preventatives. Most heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, fleas, and ticks. At the Animal Hospital of Padre Island, we can recommend the best regimen of prevention for your pet upon visiting to ensure your fur baby stays safe and healthy. Call us now in Corpus Christi, Texas, at 361-949-8200 to make an appointment.

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