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