A warm winter and lots of springtime precipitation is producing a deluge of parasite problems for our pets: heartworm disease, flea infestations, tick-borne diseases and intestinal worms. Protect your furry friends with these tips.
- Don’t rely on tried-and-true tactics. The effectiveness of preventive medication for heartworms, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites can vary from year to year. Talk to your veterinarian—she’ll know which products have the current best track record.
- Safeguard all dogs—and cats too. You might think that pets with thick coats or those housed mostly indoors are protected from mosquitos, the insect that transmits heartworm disease. But studies indicate otherwise.
- Give meds on schedule. This year in particular, missing your pet’s heartworm dose by even a week or two could have dire consequences.
- Know the signs. Heartworm symptoms can include decreased stamina and coughing; tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease are often accompanied by fever, lethargy and joint pain; intestinal worms can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- Get screened regularly. Pets should be checked for heartworms and intestinal bugs annually, but your vet may suggest a more frequent schedule.