Heartworm and Tick Diseases
In the last several years, we have seen an explosion in the tick population and in the diseases they carry. For this reason, we screen dogs annually, not only for Heartworm, but also for three common tick-borne diseases; Lymes, Anaplasmosis and Erchiosis. We’ve been surprised by the large number of positive results for tick-related diseases, even with dogs with very little apparent exposure to ticks. For 2011, we saw ticks from the first week in April to the last week in November, a full eight months! Please remember that ticks in fall are even more likely to carry disease than the early season ticks. If your dog is exposed to ticks, we recommend vaccinating for Lyme’s disease annually and applying Frontline monthly, from April to November. To learn more about the prevalence of these diseases in Illinois and surrounding states, please click on
Many of us know that dogs need once a month heartworm preventative, but heartworm disease is a serious health risk for cats too!
Heartworm is transmitted to both dogs and cats through the bite of an infected mosquito. This means that if a mosquito can get into your home, your pet can potentially get heartworm disease – even if kitty never goes outside!
Though both dogs and cats can be infected, the disease affects them differently:
In dogs, it is primarily the adult stage that cause heart and lung damage, while in cats, the majority of lung damage is caused by the larval stages and can result in chronic respiratory issues. Though the cat’s immune system can fight the development of the heartworm to some degree, even the presence of a single adult heartworm can cause death in a cat. While heartworm disease can be treated in dogs, there can be permanent damage to the heart. Sadly, for cats, there is no treatment available.
Fortunately, prevention of this deadly disease is easy with the safe heartworm preventative medications available today. These medications also provide your pet with protection against some of the most common intestinal parasites. While dogs do need an annual heartworm test, cats do not. The doctors at LePar Animal Hospital recommend year-round heartworm prevention for dogs and prevention for cats from May to December. You can use your Pet Portal to check to see if your dog is due for a heartworm test or to request heartworm preventative through our office or our online store. Of course, you can always call our office at 708-423-3200 with any questions or concerns.
For more in-depth information we recommend the American Heartworm Associations website, www.heartwormsociety.org, or their cat specific site, www.knowheartworms.org.