Care Animal Hospital of Arlington Heights
Heartworm Season is here!
Spring is a reminder for all of us to test our dogs for heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, which passes the larvae into the animal’s blood stream. It then takes a little over six months for the larvae to mature into adult worms. These worms live in the right side of the heart, arteries and lungs. Dogs of any age and breed are susceptible. Detection of heartworm disease is simple—a small blood sample is drawn and tested for the presence of these worms. Testing may not be positive for six or seven months after the infection has occurred. Because heartworm disease is preventable, the American Heartworm Society recommends that pet owners talk to their veterinarian to choose a medication that is right for their pet. There are a variety of options including monthly tablets and topical products. In this area, it is recommended that pets receive heartworm preventative year-round in addition to annual blood testing.

Although cats are also susceptible to heartworm disease, routine testing is not performed. Veterinarians recommend testing cats if they develop symptoms of the disease. There are preventatives for cats ranging from topical applications to chewable tablets. Your veterinarian can provide more information on the prevention of this disease.

Annual Wellness Testing
The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends performing an annual wellness screening for your pet. A wellness screening can aid your veterinarian in detecting, treating, and preventing problems before they become life threatening. During your pet’s annual exam, your veterinarian may recommend drawing a blood sample to monitor blood sugar, kidney function and liver function. They may also recommend a more comprehensive panel for senior pets. Many owners will combine this annual testing with their dog’s heartworm testing in the spring, but it can be performed anytime during the year.

Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks afflict pets around the world. Fleas not only annoy dogs and people but can carry disease and cause other health problems. Fleas carry tapeworms, cause allergic skin conditions, and may be vectors of infectious agents. Tick species are found worldwide and may infest dogs in very large numbers, especially during certain times of the year. Ticks may carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, several types of ehrlichiosis, and other potentially deadly diseases. There are many safe and effective products that prevent both fleas and ticks in a single monthly application. Please consult your veterinarian for the product that is best for your pet.

Leptospirosis is a contagious disease affecting both animals and humans. It is a type of bacteria that thrives in spring and fall in wet soil conditions and moderatate temperatures. Infection occurs when dogs and humans contact infected soils or urine contaminated water (usually from wildlife such as rats, raccoons, skunks, or opossums). Symptoms can include fever, depression, vomiting, and lack of appetite and can progress to chronic liver and kidney disease and even death. Preventative vaccination has nearly eradicated two of the most common types of Leptospira, but other types are causing increasing numbers of cases. To keep your pets and your family safe, we are recommending vaccination for all dogs, unless your pet has a history of vaccination reactions or other chronic diseases. Please consult your veterinarian regarding this vaccination and your pet.

Those extra pounds make it a struggle for your pet to do everyday things such as climbing stairs, jumping into the car or just going on a brisk walk. But they have even a more damaging effect: they put him at risk for arthritis, high blood pressure, difficulty breathing and a whole range of serious health problems. Weight loss can be achieved through special diets, increased exercise and even medications in some pets. Ask your veterinarian about ways to help your pet return to its ideal weight!

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