Now that the summer is finally over, we can all take a deep breath and enjoy some time outside! Winters in Arizona, pleasant as they are, do pose some potential problems for our pets. The mosquito population is a year-round concern in Arizona due to our mild winters. Infected mosquitoes are responsible for spreading heartworm disease, which causes serious damage to the heart and lungs, and can be fatal if not treated. Having your furry friends on heartworm prevention (We love Heartgard!) during the winter is just as important as during our warmer months! Treatment for heartworm disease in dogs is possible, but can be dangerous and is quite expensive.
Dogs may be placed on heartworm prevention at a young age, but we recommend a heartworm test annually beginning for dogs around 7 months of age, to ensure that they are free of heartworms as they continue their preventive routine. We strongly recommend heartworm testing and preventive for kitties as well, as there is no known treatment for heartworm disease in cats.
You may have heard about the canine influenza outbreak in the Midwest earlier this year. There is a good chance that many of our winter-only residents, who bring their dogs with them to escape the snow and ice, are from an area affected by this influenza outbreak. You may even meet some of them at your favorite local dog park or at a boarding facility during the upcoming holidays. We highly recommend vaccinating your dogs for canine influenza, along with their other annual vaccines, to decrease the chances that they will contract this illness. The symptoms of canine influenza can be particularly severe in younger dogs and puppies, and those who have never been vaccinated.
Feel free to contact us with any questions and have a safe and happy holiday season!