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Written by Patricia Diskant, DVM
The sun is out, the temperatures are rising, and the rain is falling. It's officially the end of our Floriday "winter". if you can even call it that. This year, we had a very mild winter, with higher than normal temperatures in Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach Counties. As a result, we are eeing an increase in pests early in the season, ones that normally would be controlled by cooler temperatures. These "pests" include, but are not limited to: fleas, ticks, bufo toads, and the dreaded mosquitos.
While each of these pests can cause severe disease in our pets, I feel the most important for us to recognize is the mosquito. In Florida, there are over 80 species of mosquitos, and 33 of those have been identified to be hazardous to human and pet health. The disease most commonly affecting our pets that is transmitted by the mosquito is heartworm disease.
I can talk for hours about heartworms, their lifecycles, testing, treatments, and old wives tales about the disease, but I want to keep this short and sweet.
The most important thing you can do for your dogs (and cats), is to keep them on a veterinarian-approved monthly heartworm prevention! Be diligent and try not to be late on giving it.
Research shows that any pet in the United States has the same chance of being diagnosed with heartworm disease as they would with cancer. The difference between heartworm and cancer - you can essentially eliminte the chance of heartworm disease with a monthly prevention.
For further information on heartworm disease, please visit The American Heartworm Society at https://www.heartwormsociety.org/ or schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.