Heartworm Awareness Month Reminds Us of Need for Year-Round Prevention

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As we recognize Heartworm Awareness Month each year in April, we should also remember that preventing heartworms in our pets requires a plan for year-round protection. The Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA), the state association for Texas veterinarians, wants to help remind pet owners that it only takes one mosquito to transmit life-threatening heartworms to your cat or dog. Because heartworm transmission is 100-percent preventable, it is imperative to discuss a heartworm prevention program for your pet with your veterinarian each year.

"Mosquitoes are not selective, and therefore any dog or cat, regardless of breed, age or indoor/outdoor status, is at risk," said Jennifer Hennessey, DVM, a TVMA member and emergency and critical care specialist at Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists near Houston. "Treatment of heartworm disease is far more costly on the owner's pocketbook than keeping the pet on a preventative medication, and there is no treatment for feline heartworm disease, only the opportunity to prevent it. The prevention products on the market today are safe and effective. Owners need to realize that the heartworm patient is asymptomatic initially, and sadly this is the preferred time for treatment—before damage is done."

Texas has one of the highest concentrations of heartworm cases in the US, and as both the temperature and the mosquito population increase as summer nears, take Heartworm Awareness Month as a reminder to visit your veterinarian and get your pet on an affordable heartworm prevention program.

For more information on heartworm prevention, visit tvma.org or heartwormsociety.org. To find a TVMA member veterinarian in your area, visit bit.ly/11El4w2.