APRIL 2012 NEWSLETTER
April is Heartworm Awareness Month and Turtle Creek Veterinary Medical Center is a proud supporter and educator in raising awareness for the prevention of disease. We recommend any four-legged fur ball to be heartworm screened annually AND on year round prevention. This includes both cats and dogs! Heartworms are found in all 50 states and no pet is considered safe, including the indoor pets, without proper protection from heartworm prevention. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, the risk of infection of dogs and cats by heartworms in the state of Texas is high, with infection projections for 2012 being extreme.
To better understand the risk to your pet as pet owners, we need to understand how our pets acquire heartworms. Heartworms are transmitted to your pet via mosquitoes and these pesky bugs are in plenty supply almost year round in the great state of Texas. A mosquito will bite and have a blood meal from an infected animal (i.e. coyotes, raccoons, etc.), ingesting the heartworm young which are called microfilariae. For the next 10-14 days the mosquito will carry the microfilariae, serving as a host for maturation into the infective larval stage. At this point in the heartworm life cycle, the larvae are hungry and ready to move into their new host, which may be your beloved pet. The mosquito will look for its next meal and after biting the animal, the infective larvae will enter the blood stream of their new host, your beloved pet! From here, it will take a little over 6 months for the larvae to mature into adult worms where they can live up to 7 years in the pulmonary artery and heart, slowly and progressively causing damage to vital organs and body systems
Damage from heartworms not only affects the heart, but impinges upon the entire health of your pet. The burden of the worms can impair blood circulation, resulting in damage to the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Serious damage may occur long before the outward clinical signs are detected. These signs include coughing, difficulty breathing, easily tiring, listlessness, weight loss and fainting and may be indicative of more advanced disease. Annual heartworm screens allow for early detection of infection to minimize the irreversible damage to your pet’s heart, health and quality of life.
Heartworm disease is a preventable condition by the use of monthly preventatives. Many feel that the cost of heartworm prevention is something that they cannot afford; however, there are many options available to fit most budgets including purchasing your prevention one month at a time, and even an injectable form of heartworm prevention that lasts 6 months! Heartworm disease is a life threatening condition that if left untreated, may cause the pre-mature loss of your pet. In the case that your pet does test positive for heartworm infection, treatment is available through your veterinarian. Currently, this treatment is only available for dogs, which leaves our feline companions with prevention as the only option. The treatment for dogs entails 60 days of cage confinement after the administration of a medication that may cause significant discomfort to your pet. The cost of treating your dog for heartworm disease is much higher than the lifetime cost of prevention, a classic example of "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"
In support of Heartworm Awareness Month, we are offering our clients and patients a chance to win a six month supply of heartworm prevention! If you purchase heartworm prevention for your cat or dog, or have their annual heartworm screen completed, they will qualify to be entered into a drawing for a six month supply of Trifexis© for your dog, or a six month supply of Revolution© for your cat! For more details, please ask one of our friendly staff members!
HOT DIGGITY DOG JOG -
TRIENNIAL RABIES IMMUNIZATIONS
In 2003, the Texas Board of Health made a modification the Texas Administration Code to allow for triennial, (every 3 year), rabies immunizations for our dogs and cats. As residents of Hunt County, the guidelines for the rabies immunizations are the same as the state. Here at Turtle Creek, we do provide the triennial immunization for both dogs and cats. Below are the guidelines set forth by the State of Texas for qualification of this immunization schedule:
Rabies is a fatal, viral disease that affects many species, including humans. Not only is it deadly, but the legal ramifications of non-compliance can be severe, particularly when a non-vaccinated animal bites a human. Without proof of immunization, you may be put in the difficult situation of placing your pet in quarantine – or even euthanasia.
Immunization guidelines may differentiate for your pet based on their age, lifestyle and medical conditions. As a pet owner, it is important that you work with your veterinarian to better determine the best immunization protocol suited for your furry kiddos. For further information on the rabies immunization protocols, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our friendly staff members by calling our office at (903) 454-6222.
© 2012. Turtle Creek Veterinary Medical Center.