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Treatment for Heartworm, Fleas and Ticks: A Year-Round Pursuit

Portrait of a Part Chow

Heartworm Protection For All

Did you know that heartworms are spread through mosquito bites? Any dog or cat that goes outside even just to use the bathroom is at risk, as are indoor-only pets who live where mosquitos enter the home. Given the seriousness of the disease and our temperate climate, Foster Animal Hospital recommends year-round heartworm prevention for both cats and dogs.

Affected pets develop damaging worm clusters in their hearts and major blood vessels causing impaired lung function, congestive heart disease, and eventually death. Prevention is much easier, cheaper, and safer than treatment. In fact, there is no heartworm treatment approved for cats.

Symptoms of advanced heartworm disease in dogs include:

  • Dull coat
  • Lack of energy
  • Coughing white foam and/or blood
  • Fainting spells
  • Enlarged abdomen

Sadly, by the time symptoms appear, widespread damage has already been done which complicates treatment. The good news is that heartworms can easily be prevented. We carry a variety of products that prevent heartworm infection. Our team can discuss the options with you and help select the best one for your dog or cat.

Read more on heartworm disease.

Flea Prevention, Staying One Step Ahead

Fleas cause discomfort to your cat or dog, and to your family, creating skin irritation and itchy allergic reactions. Within the home and yard, heavy flea infestations are very difficult to get rid of, sometimes taking months of effort. A good preventative can help you avoid these problems in the first place.

We recommend routinely examining your pet for fleas and using year-round flea prevention. It’s not always easy to spot adult fleas; instead, examine your pet for “flea dirt,” which is actually flea feces. View a video of how to find fleas on your pet. If you discover you have a flea infestation, it is best to contact us for safe, effective treatments that are more effective than what’s available over the counter.

To keep your pet and home free of fleas, we suggest:

  • Frequent vacuuming, and laundering of pet bedding
  • Routine examination of pets for fleas and flea dirt
  • Year-round preventive flea medicines—we have oral and topical options and can guide you to the right choice for your pet

Ticks & Disease Prevention

Ticks and their bites can spread disease to your pet. What’s more, infected ticks from pets may attach to human owners and transmit disease to us. In North Carolina dogs, one of the most common tick-borne illnesses is Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which causes serious symptoms in dogs and people. Lyme disease is also becoming more prevalent in our area. Following these recommendations reduces risk of transmission:

  • Ask us about preventive products (oral tablets, environmental sprays, collars, and topicals) and we can help you choose your best option
  • Avoid tick-infested areas
  • Groom your pet daily
  • Remove any ticks immediately with tweezers or a Tick Key

Read more about Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Read more about Lyme Disease.