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Dogs and Heartworms: Common Myths Debunked

A heartworm is just as nasty as it sounds. Also known as a Dirofilaria immitis, this spaghetti-like roundworm gets into an animal’s body through a mosquito bite. It makes its way into the host’s heart or lungs. If left alone to grow and thrive, it will eventually cause extensive health issues.

Common myths

  1. This is a summertime problem.

Yes, mosquitos tend to come out when it’s warm outside. That doesn’t mean, however, that there’s no chance you’ll come across one of these little buggers during, say, the fall. You never know when your region might have unusual warm periods. Some mosquitoes come out to play even after the bathing suits are packed away and your kids are in school. Don’t take chances! Get prevention treatment for your dog to stay on the safe side.

  1. Heartworms eventually go away on their own.

Don’t wait for the problem to fix itself – this won’t happen. Sitting back and waiting for these parasites to wither away and die naturally will only bring trouble. Should your dog wind up with a heartworm infection, look into treatment options immediately. Heartworms are serious business. They can trigger anything from weight loss to breathing difficulty to death. It’s miserable for your pet and heartbreaking for you.

  1. When a dog only goes outside to pee, he doesn’t need prevention treatment.

Mosquitos can and do get into homes (they’re annoying like that), especially if you leave a door open for more than a few seconds. Even if Fido spends all day napping on the couch, he’s still vulnerable. It only takes one bite.

  1. Heartworm disease affects dogs exclusively.

Believe it or not, cats, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, beavers, ferrets, foxes, bears, and reptiles also get heartworms. In rare cases, humans can get them, too.

This article is brought to you by Squeaky Toy Pet Services, LLC, your full-service pet sitting and dog walking provider. Squeaky Toy Pet Services offers service to Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit, Grain Valley, Lone Jack, Missouri, and the surrounding eastern Jackson County areas. Visit our website  or call us at 816-846-0611 to learn how we can provide professional, loving care for your pet!

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