April 2021 is Heartworm Awareness Month. The month is an opportunity to spread awareness about the dangers of heartworm disease and educate pet owners about how to best prevent heartworms. The American Heartworm Society sponsors the month and is dedicated to studying the disease and promoting methods for diagnosing, treating, and preventing heartworm disease in dogs and cats.
“Heartworm disease can easily be prevented with medication,” said Adrienne Jade, owner of BarkWiki. “However, many dog owners are not aware of the dangers of the disease or how it can spread.” According to an infographic from the American Heartworm Society, a heartworm-positive dog in a neighborhood can substantially increase the risk of infection to healthy dogs.
Heartworms are spread from one animal to another by mosquitoes. Mosquitos pick up larval heartworms (microfilaria) that are circulating in the bloodstream of an infected animal. The mosquito then transfers the heartworms to the next animal they bite. According to the American Kennel Club, heartworms have been found in all 50 states and are on the rise. However, the disease is most prevalent in Southeastern and Northeastern states.
After six months, the larval heartworms begin to mature and can live in a dog’s body for up to 7 years. During this time, they reproduce constantly. If left untreated, a dog may become home to multiple heartworms. The worms cause inflammation and damage to the heart, arteries, and lungs. Because treatment can be expensive and the damage caused by heartworms is lifelong, prevention is the best way to combat the disease and keep dogs healthy.
Heartworm disease can be prevented by using preventive medication throughout the year. Heartworm medication comes in several forms, including topical medications and chewables. Some of these medications also help protect dogs against other parasites, such as fleas, tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Dog owners should talk to their veterinarians to determine which medication is best suited to their pet’s environment and lifestyle. A vet’s prescription is required to receive heartworm medication.
Even if a dog is on heartworm medication, the American Heartworm Society recommends having all dogs tested for heartworms every year. Other ways to minimize the spread of heartworms are to keep pets inside during peak mosquito times, eliminate standing water (which leads to more mosquitos), and giving heartworm prevention medication year-round—not just during warmer months.
To help spread the word about heartworm awareness, the American Heartworm Society has a variety of free infographics that can be downloaded, shared, and printed. The purpose of the infographics is to spread awareness of heartworm disease and prevention. One series of infographics is dedicated to debunking various “tall tales” about heartworm disease, such as the fact that heartworms are only transmitted in the summer and that indoor cats can’t get heartworms.
In addition to educating dog owners about different dog breeds and dog health issues, BarkWiki invites its users to share cute dog photos of their beloved canine companions and their dog rescue success stories. The site also sponsors regular giveaways that make donations to the animal shelter or dog rescue of the winner’s choosing.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
BarkWiki offers health and specific dog breed information, as well as dog giveaways and monthly pet submissions contest for the most liked and loved dog by our fans.
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July 20, 2021 – BarkWiki Announces National Pet Hydration Awareness Month
April 13, 2021 – BarkWiki Celebrates Heartworm Awareness Month
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August 21, 2020 – BarkWiki Donates $500 to Brandywine Valley SPCA
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