April showers bring May flowers and April also brings awareness to a number of pet health issues. The following article discusses some important information and describes resources to help prevent or treat these health problems in your four-legged family members.
The ASPCA designates April as their Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month while National Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week is celebrated during the week of April 10 – 16. To learn more about the recognition of these men and women across the country, visit the National Animal Care and Control Association website at: www.nacanet.org.
The American Red Cross celebrates Pet First Aid Awareness Month in April. You can learn some common pet emergency tips here:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) raises awareness about the need to prevent dog bites during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, April 9 – 15.
Two other very important animal health issues are also recognized in April - Lyme Disease Prevention in Dogs Month and National Heartworm Awareness Month. These two diseases seem to have become just as serious in northern New England as in warmer parts of the country.
The AVMA describes Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) as an illness that affects both animals and humans – known as a zoonotic disease. It is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Transmitted through tick bites, the disease can be difficult to detect and can cause serious and recurring health problems. Therefore, it is best to prevent infection by taking appropriate measures to prevent tick bites and, for dogs, possibly vaccinating against the disease. There are several steps that you can take to help prevent Lyme disease for both yourself and your dog. Read more about Lyme disease and preventive measures: https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/lyme-disease.aspx
The American Heartworm Society reports that heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States as well as other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. Heartworm disease, which can be carried and spread by mosquitoes, affects dogs, cats and ferrets, but heartworms also live in other mammal species, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and—in rare instances—humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are also considered important carriers of the disease. Heartworm disease is different in dogs and cats, with different prevention and treatment measures for each. Learn about the importance of testing your furry friend for heartworm and how to obtain the most appropriate prevention medicine: