THREE TRUTHS PET OWNERS NEED TO KNOW — On any given day in Louisiana mosquitoes hang in the air looking for a juicy host from which to enjoy their next meal. For many people, the West Nile Virus threat this year is enough to stay doused in mosquito repellant or holed up behind closed doors. Few understand the devastation these pesky buzzers have on their pets.
TRUTH #1: Mosquitoes are the only carriers of the heartworm larvae. A common belief is that animals spending most of their life indoors are not susceptible to heartworm. The truth of the matter is, mosquitoes have a way of entering a house through open doors, screens and the smallest of cracks. Left unprotected, your pet is at very high-risk of contracting heartworm disease.
TRUTH #2: Virtually 100% of dogs and up to 90% of cats exposed to infective heartworm larvae become infected. According to the American Heartworm Society, the highest incidence of heartworm cases in the U.S. is in southern states along the Mississippi River.
TRUTH #3: Heartworm costs a lot less to prevent than it does to cure. Several inexpensive heartworm prevention options are available and easy to administer. Treatment for heartworm-infected dogs is expensive, complicated and recovery takes months. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if left untreated, heartworm disease will always be fatal.
Depending on the time of year, sixty to ninety percent of the dogs that end up at PAWS are heartworm positive. It’s heartbreaking to know that these wonderful animals don’t have to suffer from a disease that is preventable.
Upon heartworm diagnosis, staff and volunteers take action to treat the infected animal until it is eradicated of the disease. Heartworm treatment for one dog can take months and cost the shelter hundreds of dollars in medicine alone.
PAWS Wellness Clinic can test your dog for heartworms, treat dogs that are heartworm positive and, we have monthly heartworm preventative available for purchase. For more information call 504-392-1601 or send your question to PAWSclinic@paws4life.org.