Are you wondering if there could be heartworm in northern California? The simple answer is yes. I am sure you know that heartworm in our pets is serious but did you know that heartworm has been reported in all 50 states?
I will get straight to the point on what causes heartworm and then you will understand why heartworm northern California is totally possible. We will then discuss some prevention options.
WHAT CAUSES HEARTWORMS IN OUR PETS
Heartworms are caused in our pets when our pets are bitten by mosquitoes which have become infected with heartworms from biting other infected animals. A number of animals can be host to heartworms. They include dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and even humans. When the infected mosquito bites our pets the mosquito deposits larvae into the skin of our pets. The larvae are from the parasitic roundworm known as dirofilaria immitis. The larvae migrate to the heart and within 6 months they hatch or transform into worms that look like pieces of thread. The heartworms can be found in the chambers of the heart and in the two main arteries leading to the heart (Pulmonary artery and vena cava). From there they move to other parts of the body including the lungs and liver.
HEARTWORM SEASON | HEARTWORM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Heartworm season runs from one month before mosquito season until one month following mosquito season.
- Vets will normally perform the test
- Usually diagnosed with a blood test
The traditional form or prevention for heartworms is veterinarian prescribed medications that are used to treat our pets if they have larvae in their systems. We of course know that prevention is the best medicine of all. Many pet owners are turning away from the traditional medicines because of the harsh side effects that can result.
SIDE EFFECTS FROM HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE MEDICATIONS
Side effects from use of heartworm preventative medications include diarrhea, convulsions, vomiting and general tiredness or weakness. Your pet’s body recognizes the chemicals in the heartworm pills as poison and uses their immune systems to try and fight off what they see as foreign bodies. Therefore, when on these medications your pets will have weakened immune systems which allow your pet to get sick easier.
ALTERNATIVE PREVENTION FOR HEARTWORMS
Because many veterinarians now recognize that long term use of preventative medications can cause side effects in our pets many people are turning to alternative methods to prevent heartworms. The methods will help overall but you should discuss using them with your vet.
- Provide a healthy diet. Many people are now avoiding commercial pet food and feeding their pets natural vegetables, fruits, and raw meat
- Boost your pet’s immune system
- Strengthen your pet’s heart and circulatory system
- In areas where heartworms are prevalent think about regular de-worming
- Black walnut extract and garlic are also being used as preventatives
- Prevention is much cheaper than treatment at the vet’s office
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