COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Heartworm disease can be very serious. And this is the time of year it ramps up in frequency.
Dr. Wendy King with Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic says with spring and summer coming, your dogs and cats are more likely to spend time outside. And warmer weather also means more mosquitoes are out and they could give your pets heartworms after even just one bite.
Dr. King often sees pets test positive for heartworms - something that can be prevented if the dog or cat is on a monthly medication. The mosquito carries the heartworm and bites your pet. If your animal is not on a preventative, it can develop full adult heartworms and cause heartworm disease.
Even indoor pets are at risk. Dr. King says just walking outside for a short time can expose them to a mosquito that could be carrying. Plus, infected mosquitoes can get into your home when the doors are open - still exposing your pet. It only takes one bite.
Treating your pet for heartworms can be expensive - several hundreds of dollars. And it takes about six months to fully clear the pet of the disease. The monthly treatment also serves as a dewormer getting rid of hookworms, roundworms and other intestinal parasites that can be transmitted from animals to people.
The dog that appeared on Tuesday's WIS TV noon show is a pit bull mix. She is currently being treated for heartworms and is expected to make a full recovery. She's available for adoption through Dog4U at http://dog4u.org. You also can contact Dr. King at http://www.spearscreekvet.com/ and 803-708-3232.