Kalkaska Animal Hospital
Why should you test your dog for Heartworm?
We strongly recommend that dogs are tested for heartworm disease and other tick-borne infections/diseases yearly. Heartworms in dogs are easy to
prevent, but difficult and costly to cure.
Only one bite by an infected mosquito will
give your dog the heartworm disease.
There’s no other way dogs get heartworms.
And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is
infected. That’s why prevention is so
Heartworm disease has been reported in
all 50 states. if you have mosquitoes and
you have animals, you’re going to have
heartworms. It’s just that simple.
It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.
For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills and monthly topicals that you put on the skin. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.
Ticks are expanding their range and because of this we are seeing an increase in Lyme disease in dogs, and other tick-borne diseases. It is as simple as a test and 2 boosters to prevent this disease.
Five most common ticks in Michigan
American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis) These ticks are widespread throughout Michigan forests and grassy areas. They are active from early May-November, and will bite both humans and companion animals.
Diseases: Diseases associated with the American dog tick are rare in Michigan, but may include Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) Emerging in Michigan, found on low forest vegetation, often along human and animal trails. Diseases: Lyme disease (most common tick-borne disease in Michigan). Other rare diseases include: anaplasmosis, babesiosis, deer-tick virus, and ehrlichiosis.
Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum) Found in wooded and grassy areas across the state. It is an aggressive biter of humans and companion animals, adult females have distinctive “Lone Star” mark Diseases: Ehrlichiosis, rocky mountain spotted fever, tularemia.
Woodchuck tick (Ixodes cookei) Found most commonly on pets throughout Michigan. Usually found near dens of skunks and woodchucks, will bite companion animals near animal dens and occasionally humans Diseases: Powassan encephalitis.
Brown dog tick (Rhipecephalus sanguineus) Found in Michigan. It can uniquely survive and breed in indoor environments, has been associated with kennel, shelter, and breeding facilities. Good hygiene practices can prevent indoor infestations. Diseases: Rocky mountain spotted fever, canine babesiosis, canine ehrlichiosis
Why does my indoor cat need vaccines?
We hear it all the time, "My cat stays indoors, why does she need vaccinations?"