Spring Time is Prevention Time!

With record snow fall in the Sierras this winter, mosquitoes will be flourishing more now than drier years in the past. Spring is the perfect time to start preventatives for heartworm disease!

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If you are not familiar with heartworm disease – it’s a parasite transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  Adult worms develop in the heart, cause heart failure and eventually death.  Crazy thing…it can be prevented. 

This disease isn’t as prevalent in Northern Nevada, but it does exist in the Reno-Tahoe area.  It actually affects both, dogs and cats, in every state. 2013-Heartworm-Incidence-Map

With record snow fall in the Sierras this winter, mosquitoes will be flourishing more now than drier years in the past.  Spring is the perfect time to start preventatives for heartworm disease!

Heartworm larvae live in infected mosquitoes and are transmitted when they bite your dog or cat.  The larvae develop into adults that gather in the heart.  Once adult worms are present, without treatment prognosis is death.

Boomer HW

Boomer’s Heart Infected with Adult Heartworms – Villa Lobos Rescue Center

The best way to prevent heartworm disease is keeping your pet on a preventative year round. Infected mosquitoes in the Lake Tahoe Area, have even been found at the Lake level as late as November. Yes November! So, skipping winter months is no longer a viable option to fight this often fatal disease.

Performing a simple blood test at your veterinarian’s hospital can test for the disease in as little as 10 minutes.  Negative results mean you can start the preventative.  It’s as easy as giving a tasty beef chew once a month.  Positive results are another story of their own.  Treatment is necessary to save your pet and risks involved can be fatal as well.

As an active outdoor enthusiast, camping and hiking with my dogs is a must. My dogs are protected by Heartgard all year, since mosquitoes are unavoidable. Although there are products like k9 Advantix II that repel mosquitoes, there’s no guarantee.  And…mosquitoes not biting your dog are biting you.  Cases of heartworm have been reported in humans as well. West Nile Virus is another nasty disease spread by mosquitoes.

Tech Tips:

  • Get your dog tested for Heartworm disease annually.
  • If, you skip or miss a dose, be sure to re-test in 6 months.
  • Keep your dog on a Heartworm preventative all year.
  • Symptoms, though not always seen, may include:
  • A mild persistent cough, lethargy, exercise intolerance, weight-loss, and loss of appetite.

The fact is, if there’s even a chance for infection and there’s a preventative…It’s in your power to ensure you pets’ well being.

Spring is here so start prevention now!

Protect your pets from winter’s harsh reality.

Winter is officially here. As the days get longer, so can the list of potential hazards. Protect your pets from winter’s harsh reality.

Protecting your pet during the cold weather is just as important as protection from the heat of summer.  Follow my tech tips to kick of your pet’s winter safely.

Keep them cozy inside. Cats and dogs should be kept inside during the cold months of winter.  Most pets need to do their “business” outside, but be mindful of the length of time spent out there or in unattended vehicles.  Adequate bedding inside is also necessary to keep pets comfortable on hard, cold floors.ruby-snuggled-for-blog-12-21

Bundle them up.  Shorter haired pets can wear sweaters or jackets to keep the warm during outdoor winter activities. Be sure pet clothing fits properly to avoid chaffing and discomfort.

Protect their paws.  Paws can be traumatized by the frigid ground, sharp ice and chemicals  found in commercial ice melts.  Use booties during icy conditions or when going for longer walks or hikes.  Find booties that fit your pet properly.   Even cats can benefit from booties, but may be more reluctant to wear them.  When wearing boots, check feet often and look for any sores or bleeding – we’ve all had a blister from breaking in a new pair of shoes!

Godiva in Boots

            Ruby and Godiva wear Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boots!

Clean up spills.  Antifreeze is deadly to pets.  Toxicity happens quickly and is lethal in very small doses. Try Low Tox™ brand antifreeze which contains propylene glycol and is recommended for use in pet households. If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian and the Pet Poison Animal Poison Help Line(855-764-7661)  right away!

Choose ice melt that is pet safe. Safe Paw Ice Melter is a safe salt free alternative. Make your own, but be cautious of the pros and cons.

Be prepared for emergencies. Whether you’re at home or on the road, always consider your pet’s needs too.  Power outages during frigid temperatures and storms could leave you and your pet in need for days. The AVMA suggests keeping a supply of food and/or medications to last at least 5 days.  Keep an emergency kit, additional blankets and clothes in your vehicle.

Monitor dietary wellness. Be sure your pet is staying hydrated and well fed during the cold months of winter.  Proper nutrition is important for thermoregulation all year long -just because its cold doesn’t mean they need to fatten up.  Provide fresh water daily. Dehydration can happen in the winter too! Snow consumption is fine for fun, but too much could cause intestinal upset.

Keep them healthy.  Talk to your veterinarian about keeping your pet safe and comfortable this winter. Discuss changes in behavior and/or activity levels.  Changes in weather can often show us signs of illness we hadn’t seen previously, such lameness, hypothermia or frostbite.ruby-and-godiva-in-coats-for-blog-12-21

What will you do to protect your pet this winter?  

Ruby and Godiva want you to submit picture or story of you and your pet preventing winter’s woes!