April showers bring May flowers and April also brings awareness to a couple of pet health problems that can be prevented. The American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) offers the following information about these two very serious canine health problems.
April is Lyme Disease Prevention in Dogs Month and National Heartworm Awareness Month.
These two diseases are becoming more serious in northern New England than they were in the past.
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 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 considered important carriers of the disease. Heartworm disease is different in dogs and cats, with different treatment and prevention measures for each of these. Learn about the importance of testing your furry friend for heartworm and how to obtain the most appropriate preventive medicine:
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Talk with your veterinarian about the best preventive medicines for your pets and get them started on those preventives this spring.