Many people come to the vet under the impression that their pets are at risk for heartworm only during the warmer seasons, and therefore, they need only medicate against heartworm during those times. The truth is medicating both cats and dogs for heartworm should be a year-round habit. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- Mosquito season is unpredictable; sometimes (like this year) we can have many warmer days earlier in the late winter and early spring, and the heat can also extend long into the typically colder months.
- Many of us travel with our pets and mosquitoes can be present even a few states south of Michigan during Michigan's winter months.
- Standing water can occur year-round. Have you ever been down to your basement in the winter and found small pools of water? Maybe around the water softener or utility tub? Mosquitoes are extremely tough bugs and their larvae can live up to a month (depending on temperature). See our upcoming post on the life-cycle of the mosquito.
Perhaps the greatest reason for prevention is that the effects of heartworm, even after successful treatment, can impact your pet its entire life. Ask yourself if it's worth the risk!
Stay tuned for more posts about the life cycle of mosquitoes and heartworm, and the medications we recommend for prevention.