Happy Spring!

By on 23 March, 2017 in Lynne Burford, Pets with 0 Comments
Photo by Tom

Photo by Tom

I don’t know about your pets, but mine are thrilled to be able to go outside and soak in this gorgeous weather. As I look in the yard I see tiny sunbathers in little pods. It must feel so good to feel the sunshine after so many rainy cold days! There is new grass to eat (and yes, it’s ok for your pets to eat grass) and things in the dirt to smell and bees to chase. Life begins anew each spring for all creatures!

One thing spring brings with it here in the south is a creature so detested by everyone that even saying the word is unpleasant. MOSQUITO. There. Is there a more despised yard resident? Without protection, you can’t enjoy your yard in the evenings. Cookouts become slap-fests.  Children have to be marinated in OFF. But worst of all is what one tiny mosquito is capable of doing to your pets.

Heartworm disease is one of the top five killers of dogs and cats in the US, and the top killer of dogs in the deep south. When an unprotected dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito, it could be a death sentence. One pill a month can prevent this killer. If you haven’t “googled” images of a heart infested with these spaghetti-looking worms, you need to. Because once you see what can happen, you will never again forget to give your pet the preventive.

There are so many things you can do to educate yourself to be the best pet parent possible, but none as important as preventing heartworm disease. A dog with heartworms can often be treated, but the treatment is a set of arsenic-based injections and comes with risks especially for a very symptomatic or immune suppressed dog. Treatment is expensive and painful, requiring 30 days of crate rest while the worms slowly die. Activity during this time is limited because if the heart pumps too much, the segments of the worms could get into the lungs of the dog and cause death.

So remember that just as you would not send your child in the yard to get eaten alive by these denizens of Hades, you should protect your pets with monthly preventive such as Heartgard, Sentinel or any of the other products available from your veterinarian. Here’s to healthy pets and many more springs to enjoy with them!

Lynne Burford is a lifelong animal advocate who has been rescuing since she was a little girl. From birds and snakes to raccoons and foxes, she has rehabilitated and released back into the wild many orphaned and injured creatures. For the last ten years her focus has been on fostering and volunteering with rescues to place dogs into permanent and loving homes. Aside from various sizes of foster dogs, she owns a small pack of chihuahuas.

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