Heartworm and Wintering Mosquitoes

Tick-borne and mosquito-transmitted diseases don’t take a vacation when the weather turns frigid. And mosquitoes are the exclusive carriers of Heartworm Disease. So how is it conceivable that mosquitoes can survive in NYC, Manhattan, Long Island (LI), Brooklyn, Bronx and Westchester into the winter months?

“In the correct habitat, adults can survive the winter, too. The northern house mosquito uses a hibernation system known as diapause,” writes a Mosquito Squad blogger in a post on the topic found at http://triad.mosquitosquad.com/blog/2015/7/8/how-do-mosquitoes-survive-winter/

“After mating in the fall, females ingest nectar (instead of blood) to build up fat reserves that will sustain them through the cold months. They look for basements, sewers, logs, or holes in the ground in which to keep themselves in the winter.”

Heartworm is a serious disease that, if untreated, can be fatal to your dog. The disease primarily affects the heart and lungs but it can also assail the liver, kidney, eye and central nervous system, according to the experts at Pet Health Network.

Symptoms can be subtle in the early phase of the disease and are therefore easy to overlook. As the disease progresses and the number of heartworms grow a dog will cough, become lethargic, show reluctance for exercise, lose his or her appetite and begin to lose weight, writes Dr. Ruth McPete, a veterinarian and contributing Pet Health Network author.

Read the full story titled What You Need to Know About Heartworm Disease by going to http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/what-you-need-know-about-heartworm-disease.

McPete recommends not waiting for your pet to display symptoms because by that time irreversible damage may have already occurred.

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) has conducted extensive studies on heartworm disease and McPete shared some their findings:

There is an increasing incidence of heartworm disease across the US. Even cats can be infected with the parasite and develop the disease.

According to WebMD, the parasite that causes heartworm can infect dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals – even humans.

“In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. But these are very rare cases,” writes Sandy Eckstein in the WebMD online article titled Heartworms in Dogs: Facts and Myths found at http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/heartworms-in-dogs-facts-and-myths.

It’s very important to have your pets tested for heartworm. Diagnosing the disease is quick and easy and usually accomplished through a blood test, Pet Health Network’s McPete states.

Treating a pet with heartworm without injury to the dog or cat (or ferret) can be a challenge, and while treatment options have improved they are not without risk. And they are expensive. That’s why prevention is the best course of action. Additionally, current heartworm preventative medications are safe, effective and available in pills, topical applications and by injection.

“These can also protect your pets (and their human family) from other internal parasites (such as roundworms),” she said.

For more advice and recommendations about heartworm and preventative medications for your pet, contact his or her veterinarian.

And If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s behavior remember to reach out to your local Metro New York, NYC, Manhattan, LI, Brooklyn, Bronx and Westchester Off Leash K9 Training professional. He or she can address and resolve behavioral issues such as canine obedience, canine food aggression, dog aggression, potty training and much more!