May 2008
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May Pet Tip of the Month – Heartworms and the Banjo!

I think Butch is trying to harvest my organs and sell them on the open market. He is also trying to disguise it by learning how to play the banjo. Genius!

Now that I have your attention …let’s talk about heartworms. Heartworm season is again upon us, as I saw the first mosquito of the season last night. For those veteran dog owners out there in the Northern states, we know that it is time to start the preventative medicine that we all have become familiar with over the years. I personally use “Revolution” (on Butch not me!) which has done its job well over the last 4 years for Butch, so I have no reason to change. I can recommend this topical as a preventative measure but as always you should consult your vet before using most medical items on your dog. I also know that your dog should be tested for heartworm before using anything as some types can be fatal if used on a dog that has already heartworm. If they test positive for heartworm, there is another course of treatment needed. Heartworm is carried by mosquitos, most of which die off in the winter months, at least in the northern states for the most part, so the risk diminishes drastically during the cold months. It is highly unlikely that the colder climate areas in Canada and Alaska will support the parasite at all.

Dogs and cats and of course many types of wild animals contract heartworm which is a serious and possibly fatal parasite that takes up residence in the pulmonary arteries as well as part of the heart muscle. Although this is a serious condition, it is very easy to prevent in animals and is also quite rare in humans. Despite its easy prevention it is something to be taken seriously, which it is, by verterinarians across the country. So much so that in 1974 they founded a society organization named “The American Heartworm Society” which focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, tracking of cases, and ongoing scientific research in this area of animal health. They have a great web site with detailed information on heartworm. They have resources for Vets and Pet owners alike and is definitely worth a look, because…come on…how many of us “newbies” actually know what heartworm really is other than it’s bad for our dog and we have to put this stuff on them every month to prevent them from getting it. It is always a good idea to know as much as you can about the potential hazards that could befall your best friend. If you are a new puppy owner and caring for your little one is also new to you, this is very important information for you to be aware of.

Please visit their web site at
and read about this hazard to your pet. It is so easy to prevent, it is a shame that any pet would contract it.

I hear Butch playing his banjo…I have to go now..!

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