Last year, Sierra Veterinary Clinic identified nine new cases, and so far this year we have already diagnosed five. This is significant when you consider that 10 years ago we might have found a case each year or every other year, and mainly in animals that traveled outside the area. Now it is happening with patients that have lived here their entire lives. Two of the patients that were diagnosed so far this year have been on prevention but missed some months.
Why is this a concern for you or your pets?
Unfortunately, a high percentage of dogs and cats remain unprotected or receive preventives inconsistently. Many people do not realize how serious heartworm can be and that their dog or cat can die from it. Others are not aware that it comes from contact with mosquitoes, and that even animals who live primarily indoors can still be exposed. They are also not aware that there is no treatment for cats, and that the treatment for dogs involves using a form of arsenic and can be both risky and expensive ($1,000 to $3,000 depending on the size of the dog). And that the disease is very advanced by the time any symptoms are apparent.