When it comes to Aussie dogs and cats, heartworm is a parasite you need to know about. Unlike other worms, heartworms are deadly as they travel in the bloodstream, and can end up living in and around the heart.
Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes, so indoor and outdoor pets are at risk.
Because of this,
And with heartworm, the first sign of an infection can actually be the last, and sadly cause a painful death.
Keeping your pet protected is essential, here’s what you need to know:
1. An “allwormer” does not cover heartworm.
Unfortunately the name “allwormers” is very deceiving. Most allwormers only treat intestinal, lung, liver and tapeworms.
The medication for heartworm is also administered in two different ways:
1. A monthly tablet/chew or a yearly, or
2. An injection called and SR12 (not to be confused with your pet’s vaccinations).
2. Heartworm is not only a wet-weather disease.
We all know mosquitoes thrive in tropical weather like North Queensland, but “mosquito season” can fluctuate from one region to another. For example, if you live in Victoria, it’s impossible to predict when the last mosquito will appear.
Mosquitoes are highly adaptable and will find places to breed, even during a drought.
While some mosquitoes breed and hatch during rainfall, others prefer tires, birdbaths, or tin cans to reproduce. For these reasons, vets recommend year-round parasite prevention for all pets.
3. Indoor pets need heartworm prevention too.
To a mosquito, your pet is like a Sizzler buffet. So even if you have just a few mosquitos in your home each year, your pet is susceptible to heartworm.
Skipping heartworm treatments because you live in a dry climate is indeed false security.
Even the lower likelihood dry and cool regions of Australia are still highly susceptible to heartworm, and you only need to look at the heartworm fatalities of local foxes or feral cats to see how serious of a concern heartworm is, all over Australia.
4. Cats are also at risk of heartworm.
While dogs have the highest rate of heartworm fatalities, cats and other pets like ferrets are vulnerable too.
Cats are slightly more resistant than dogs as a heartworm host, but there are still thousands of cases each year in Australia.
What most people don’t know, however, is that cats act as a reservoir for heartworm transmission to other pets (like dogs) that are more at risk.
5. Heartworm treatments need to be on time!
One of the most common mistakes that many pet owners in Australia make, is forgetting to administer their pet’s treatments. Monthly heartworm prevention is the easiest way to keep your pet’s immunity at its peak.
Late doses, missing doses or not knowing that a dose needs to be given every month can leave pets at risk for contracting heartworms. If forgetting is a problem, your pet can go on a yearly injectable (SR12) or go on a home-delivered monthly heartworm treatment plan like FleaMail.
What you can do to prevent heartworm.
- Remove standing water from your home like any buckets, tyres and pot plants that hold water.
- Make sure your screens and doors are well maintained and shut at all times.
- Ensure roofing drains and gutters are always cleaned.
- Make sure any water feature has moving water, or you’ve fish in the water to eat the mosquito larvae.
- Treat all pets monthly for heartworm with a veterinary grade