Mosquitoes are not only a pest to you, but also for your pet. Did you know that mosquitoes transmit Heartworm Disease to both dogs and cats? This happens when a mosquito takes a blood meal from an animal that has heartworm disease, and then it bites your pet and inoculates your pet with heartworm disease. The good news is Heartworm Disease is PREVENTABLE!
Dog Covered in Mosquitoes. Getty - E+/Beau Meyer
Most pets that test positive at our clinic are being screened at their annual wellness exam and are not showing signs of heartworm disease. We require yearly heartworm tests so that we can identify disease early and treat the pet before the disease causes major problems. Pets on monthly, year-round heartworm prevention are protected from the disease.
Heartworm Disease is much more common in dogs than cats, and it is more common in dogs that spend a lot of time outside and are not on prevention. This is not to say that inside cats and dogs are not at risk; mosquitoes can easily fly into your house and bite your pet. In the winter months, mosquitoes often hide out inside homes, basements, and garages where it’s warm, which is why it’s important to keep your pet on prevention year round.
At West Lake Animal Hospital in Springfield, we carry Heartgard and Interceptor Plus for dogs as well as Revolution for cats. There are many options on the market, but we recommend consulting with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is on the best prevention for them. Many heartworm preventatives also protect against various intestinal parasites and sometimes fleas, and choosing the correct product for your pet’s environment is essential.
Our mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.
Many cats start having litters of kittens this time of year, and we start seeing them for their first kitten wellness exams at the clinic. We love this time of year, because who doesn’t like to snuggle and play with cute, energetic balls of fur?! Hearing the names that are picked out is always fun for me; there is usually a good story behind each pet’s name.
At West Lake, we recommend bringing your kitten in for its first visit around 8 weeks of age. Each visit varies slightly depending on the kitten’s history and the plan for their future. Typically we recommend a Feline Leukemia/Feline AIDS test to rule out disease that can’t be seen on the physical exam. We also recommend doing a parasite test to check for intestinal worms and coccidia, which are treatable once detected. If the kitten is in overall good health, we will usually perform the first set of vaccinations at this visit as well. Kittens will return to the clinic about once a month until they have their full series of vaccinations finished around 16 weeks of age. In Sangamon County, all cats are required to have a current rabies vaccination.
It is a good idea in Springfield and Rochester to keep your kitten on flea and heartworm prevention year round. We have fairly mild winters in Illinois, and we actually see pets with fleas even throughout the winter. Fleas can make kittens very sick by causing anemia. Heartworm disease is not as prevalent in cats as it is in dogs, but it does happen so preventing it is ideal.
It is important to have your kitten spayed or neutered for several reasons. First of all, it is a necessary procedure to help control pet over-population and keep unwanted dogs and cats out of shelters. Secondly, it has positive medical benefits for your kitten such as decreasing certain cancer risks, reducing territorial behaviors (marking and roaming), and eliminates the risk of uterine infections. At West Lake, we typically recommend having the procedure performed around 6 months of age.
West Lake Animal Hospital’s mission is to provide high quality, compassionate veterinary care with a personal touch. We strive to maintain a friendly and comfortable environment for pets and owners and are committed to building strong, respectful, and honest relationships with our clients. Through teamwork, we are dedicated to ensuring the best care possible and treating pets as if they were our own.