Change in Heartworm Prevention Recommendation

Have you ever wondered if your pet should be on year-round heartworm prevention, even during the winter months?

The answer is YES! The highest risk of your pet contracting heartworms is typically in the summer and fall when the mosquitoes are the most active. During the winter mosquito larvae lay dormant. When the temperature reaches 60 degrees, mosquitoes are able to hatch and feed. Here in Colorado, we have fairly inconsistent weather, especially in the winter months. They can even emerge earlier or later in the seasons, which makes it hard to know when the first mosquito is going to come out and when the last one is going to die. Living in Colorado, where we are a colder climate, doesn’t eliminate our pets risk from contracting heartworms since they have been reported in all 50 states. Giving your pet heartworm prevention all year is more cost effective, less invasive and healthier for your pet than if they need to be treated for heartworms. It is important to give prevention during the winter months as well to protect against intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Intestinal parasites are not restricted by the colder weather like mosquitoes are.  Not all heartworm preventatives on the market protect against the parasites listed which is why we recommend and carry Interceptor plus.

Misconceptions of Heartworm in the state of Colorado

Some pet parents are in belief that their pet is safe from heartworms if they don’t go outside during dusk or dawn, don’t interact with other animals and stay indoors most of the day. Heartworm is not transmitted from direct contact from one animal to another. It is carried by mosquito from biting an infected animal and then going on to bite a different one, therefore infecting that animal. There is absolutely no way that you can tell which mosquito is infected and which one is not.   If you let your dog outside at anytime, open house doors or windows then your pet is at risk of contracting heartworms if they are not on any prevention.

Why change now?

We have recently changed our recommendation to protecting your pet year round due to the increase of positive dogs from higher heartworm risk states. We have already seen a few heartworm positive cases this year here at High Plains Veterinary Hospital. It is an expensive, lengthy and scary condition to treat, as the dying adult worms have no place to go.

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