Dogs Need Love, Attention And Preventative Care

protect your dogs from heartworm

You give your dogs the love and affection they need, protect them from Heartworm too!

For 2012, the goal of veterinarians and the American Heartworm Association (AHS) is to educate the public on preventative care, especially for heartworms. Each year, thousands of dogs die due to a infection with these parasites. The numbers do not include dogs that are put down because rescue kennels cannot afford to treat the dogs. In addition, the numbers do not include the thousands of stray dogs that die from this disease each year.

Imagine being a vet for a moment. The biggest challenge many animal health practitioners face is convincing a dog owner to use a monthly heartworm treatment to prevent infection. Most pet owners do not believe their dog will become infected.

In addition, millions of pet owners believe that using one of the approved monthly treatments will make their dog sick. Now, imagine as a veterinarian, you must tell a dog owner that his or her beloved pet is infected. Or worse, imagine telling a dog owner their beloved four-legged family member has just died due to an adult worm infection.

In thousands of cases, the owner has no idea why their dog has fallen deathly ill. An emergency visit to the vet’s typically ends with the dog passing away while being examined or the infection is too severe to be treated, in which case the dog must be put down.

If you are not concerned about a heart worm infection, you should be. The disease has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The AHS has reported cases in ALL states. Just 10 years ago, there were several states that had zero incidences of infections. Today, every state is reporting an increase in infection rates.

Although many European countries do have a low incidence of infection, it is important to mention a frightening trend is beginning to emerge. The rate of infection is beginning to increase in Europe. This increase is directly related to an increase in the mosquito population. Many countries are experiencing warmer and more humid weather. This type of weather allows mosquitoes to flourish. As mosquito populations continue to increase, the greater the risk this devastating infection will spread.

The infection rates in the United States could have been greatly reduced had pet owners diligently given the monthly medicines approved for the purpose. Now, preventative medicines can be a matter of life or death.

You only need to visit YouTube and search the term “heartworms”. You will see hundreds of videos created by people who lost their beloved family member to this treacherous infection.

Sadly, many of the pet owners did not know their furry family member was suffering until their pet died from the disease as symptoms may not be apparent until the end stage. Continue reading

New Heartworm Treatment Initiatives

To date, there continues to be only one effective and FDA approved treatment for treating dogs with a heartworm infection. The current method requires doses of the drug Immiticide. Unfortunately, there is a severe shortage of this drug at present. As the shortage continues, the American Heartworm Society (AHS) has released a plan for pet owners to follow in the event their beloved dog does not meet the strict requirements for Immiticide treatment.

Due to the shortage, your veterinarian must prove your dog is in dire need of treatment. He or she must submit an application for Immiticide to the manufacturer which is Merial Limited.

In many cases, treatment doses have been denied by Merial. Since there is not enough Immiticide to treat every dog, the doses are limited to the most dangerous and extreme cases. This leaves pet owners feeling helpless. In response the AHS has developed guidelines to keep your pet safe until the shortage is alleviated.

an annual heartworm test for all dogs is recommendedIn conjunction with the AHS guidelines, Merial participated in the 2012 North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC). At the conference the company announced its initiatives to increase the number of pet owners that visit the veterinarian by 25 million.

Millions of pet owners do not take their pets to the vet for regular health examinations. This results in millions of dogs that are infected with heart worms. In many cases, by the time a pet owner realizes their dog is sick, the infection has progressed so badly that surgery is the only course of treatment. Surgery is the most expensive treatment at an average cost of $4,065.00. Sadly, many pet owners just cannot afford the cost. In numerous cases, the end result is that the dog must be euthanized.

Merial’s current initiative includes increasing veterinarian visits along with increasing the number of pet owners that provide preventative heartworm treatment for their pets. The rate of heart worm infections are steadily increasing each year; it is now considered an epidemic. A monthly dose of preventive medicine significantly reduces the risk of your pet contracting an infection. This remains the best course of preventative treatment. In light of the current Immiticide shortage, it is imperative that pet owners select a preventative heartworm medicine. Continue reading

Spring is Here and so are Seasonal Dog Allergies

seasonal dog allergies can make life miserable for your dogWhile we humans experience seasonal allergies particularly during the onset of spring, we often forget allergic reactions affect our pets as well and springtime is definitely a bad time for dog allergies!

Many such reactions in dogs manifest as itchy skin. In addition, the skin becomes dry, flaky and develops red welts. In many severe cases, open sores may develop. Seasonal allergies in dogs are a serious concern for many pet owners.

The discomfort from constantly scratching itchy skin is exacerbated if the dog begins to chew and lick the affected areas. The skin can lacerate and bacteria can enter the body through the laceration. In many severe cases, this can result in a serious internal bacterial infection that can result in death if left untreated.

For those who live in humid climates, seasonal allergies are compounded by flea infestations. Many pets are allergic to fleas. This allergic reaction can be severe and debilitating. Many veterinarians recommend a heartworm preventative medicine that also contains medicine that kills fleas. In addition to this treatment, it is also recommended to use pet products such as shampoo that is specifically formulated for skin conditions.

Many dogs will develop “hotspots” on their legs, paws, and tail area. These hotspots are red welts that may become open sores if left untreated. The hotspots are caused when the dog attempts to relieve the itching by nibbling the area with its teeth. In addition, the animal will lick the area excessively creating a comfortable home for bacteria to grow.

If you have a pet that suffers from allergies including seasonal allergies, you may want to buy specially formulated products to keep your dog comfortable and healthy. The following are a few products that will help control skin problems that can cause tremendous discomfort for your pet: Continue reading

Crating Dogs During Heartworm Treatment

If your dog is scheduled for heartworm treatment and you want to find out more about crating dogs, how to introduce your pet to a crate for the first time and to get him used to being in it, read on! We also provide some helpful information about types and sizes and provide some examples of suitable models.

There is significant controversy regarding crating dogs while pet owners are away from home. Veterinarian recommendations indicate dogs should not be confined to a pet crate for more than eight hours. However, during heartworm treatment, many veterinarians will recommend keeping your dog confined in one while you are not home.

While millions of pet owners have crate trained their dogs, most pet owners leave the door open. In most cases, dogs feel comforted by being inside it when their human companions are not home. The reason stems from the fact that dogs are “den” animals. The dogs will feel relaxed and calm when they stay in their den. In addition, they have the freedom of leaving the den because the door is open.

crating dogsHowever, many pet owners do not normally confine their pet. Their pet has the freedom to move about the home. If your dog is not used to a crate, confining him to one during heartworm treatment when movement and excitement needs to be restricted, may simply cause more anxiety and stress.

In this case, it is a good idea to take advantage of the few weeks before planned heartworm treatment to introduce him to the idea of crating and to ensure he is happy and relaxed about using it. We have given some suggestions below for choosing a model that is suitable for the size of your pet.

My own dog loves his, he is a very nervous dog, having come from a rescue center. His ‘box’ as we call it, is his ‘safe haven’ when we are away from home and he asks to go inside if I have inadvertently left the door closed! Remember that it is important to leave food and water inside and place comfort items such as a favorite blanket or toy in with him – for added comfort during convalescence, such as after heartworm treatment, put in a T shirt or sweatshirt you have worn so that he can have the comfort of your smell!

The short video gives an excellent introduction to how to get your pet used to the idea of a crate.
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