Spring officially begins March 20th and around this time of the year we often hear pet parents ask, "Should I vaccinate my dog for heartworm?"
Unfortunately the answer isn’t as simple as "yes" or "no".
This is a decision that you must make for yourself. You must take into consideration your pet’s current state of health as well as the level of risk of heartworm infection in the area and climate where you live. Not until you have this information and you have consulted with your holistic veterinarian can you make an informed decision for your dog.
That’s why this week’s issue of "The Intelligent Pet" is all about demystifying heartworms. I would highly recommend that you start your research by reading this important article.
Knowledge is power,
Amber Keiper and the rest of the BARF World team.
P.S. If you would like to learn more secrets to natural pet health, I invite you to join us for a FREE webinar this Saturday, February 18th at 5:00pm Pacific. You’ll have an opportunity to ask our two pet health experts those questions that have been on your mind about your pet’s health and longevity. Click here to register.
Heartworms DemystifiedBy Evan Price
As we make the transition from winter to spring we begin to notice some changes around us. Snow begins to melt, trees begin to blossom from dull dormancy to vibrant color, and it starts to get a little warmer outside.
With the rise in temperature comes a rise in concern about canine heartworm infection. Here are some of the basic things you should know about heartworms:
What are Heartworms?A heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that, despite the name, typically makes its home in the lung tissue. While other animals can be hosts for heartworms, including foxes, ferrets, wolves, coyote, cats, and even humans (extremely rare), dogs are by far the most common. Many dogs will not show any symptoms of infection but those that do can exhibit shortness of breath, cough (and sometimes, coughing up blood), and weight loss.
How do you get them?A vector is defined as an agent responsible for transmitting an infectious pathogen to another living organism. In this instance, the vector for heartworms is the mosquito.
While mosquitos are found in almost all parts of the world, they are most common in warm climates and are known for spreading several diseases. The United States is among the most highly impacted areas due to our wide range of temperate climates.
Heartworm PreventionIt is much easier to prevent heartworm disease than to treat it once your pet has contracted the disease. For a detailed article on the prevention of heartworms, check out the June 2011 issue of the "The Intelligent Pet newsletter".
Diagnosis and TreatmentDiagnosing heartworm infection is something that can be done by a veterinarian. This is commonly done through microfilarial detection or antigen testing. Once that has been completed and an infection has been detected, treatment options may vary.
One of the first things your vet will do is to run a few more tests to determine the functionality of the liver, kidney, and heart. There are several courses of action that may be taken at this point, depending on your dog’s specific stage of infection and condition.
Heartworms are by no means the death sentence that they were once thought to be. The condition is very treatable so if you suspect that your dog may be infected, please see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Until next time…Happy BARFing!
Evan Price is a Raw Diet Educator for BARF World Inc. He is a true dog lover at heart with a particular interest in Daschunds. Evan is also an avid sports enthusiast and bridge player. For more articles like these and to learn more about the benefits of raw food for your pets, sign up for The Intelligent Pet weekly e-zine at www.barfworld.com.
|Bark Out Loud|
Box of Chocolates
Wags of Wisdom:"A lover tries to stand in well with the pet dog of the house."
-Molière, French playwright