The American Heartworm Society and Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) are reporting that the warm winter has brought on perfect conditions for extremely high parasite populations in Texas. Heartworm isn't the only immediate concern. Fleas, hookworm and roundworm all may pose problems as well. American Heartworm Society President Wallace E. Graham Jr., DVM, of Wooldridge Creek Animal Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, has already had to perform a blood transfusion on a dog with flea-bite anemia. "Veterinarians are likely to see increased traffic in clinics," he says. "We have had a very mild winter with some relief in drought areas, particularly my area of Texas, and we anticipate many, many more mosquitoes. The rate of heartworm transfer exposure in dogs and cats is significantly higher this year than last, which makes religious adherence to monthly schedules important." 97% of the danes coming into our program are Heartworm positive so the increased risk can only mean more positive danes and more expense. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquitoes to infect your dog or cat! Prevention is the key.
Heartworms are not the only risk. This year we saw an increase in other parasitic disease. Some we used to only see occasionally, like sarcoptic mange, others are very rare in Texas. Last week we had a sweet girl come to us very very sick, she tested negative for all the usual and an expensive blood test revealed a rare tick borne disease generally found only in the South East. Many of these diseases are contracted by infected fleas, ticks, keds (non flying bug) and mosquitoes. In 2010 some parts of the country reported cases of Lyme Disease were three times higher than previous years.
This issue is NOT confined to animals in shelters or rescues. Your sweet family FURkid is also at risk... Please talk to your veterinarian about prevention and signs associated with parasitic disease. To learn more about Pets and Parasites visit http://www.petsandparasites.org/ This site is geared toward Pet Owners.
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