Advice for your pet

Welcome to the first edition of In the Lick of Time. I am Dr Bob Esplin of SylvaniaVET. a lifelong resident of Sylvania. I have provided a wide range of pet care since 1978. I intend to bring readers timely pet care information and answer your questions. Send your pet questions to drbob@sylvaniavet.com.

Heartworm Prevention

This month we tackle the importance of year-round heartworm and internal parasite protection for your dog or cat.

Heartworm is a mosquito-transmitted disease that affects dogs and cats. NW Ohio is endemic for this serious cardio-vascular disease. The first case of heartworm diagnosed north of the Mason-Dixon line was in Bowling Green in the mid-’60s. Intestinal parasites, roundworm, hookworm, whipworm are also endemic to our region.

Testing is key

All dogs should be tested yearly for heartworm regardless of preventive history. All dogs should be given oral monthly preventive year-round. New data shows if medication is stopped it takes up to three months to reestablish full protection. Prevention is obviously the best medicine but a positive-heartworm dog can be treated successfully.

Cats, even 100 percent indoor cats, need heartworm protection. An early study on cat heartworm showed 30 percent of positive cats never went outside. There is no treatment for a heartworm positive cat so routine testing is not indicated. The lack of safe, effective treatment for feline heartworm disease emphasizes the importance of preventive medication.

Clinical signs of heartworm in dogs are coughing, exercise intolerance, increased respirations. In cats, respiratory signs do occur but strangely chronic vomiting is associated also. Sudden death is also a sign of cat heartworm disease.

Recommendations

SylvaniaVET recommends the brand name products Interceptor Plus and Heartgard Plus for dogs. Revolution topical is our number one recommendation for cats. We do not recommend the six-month duration injection. All dogs and cats should be on monthly medications year-round.

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