Cases of heartworm disease among dogs and cats have been on the rise over the past five years. Yet, many pet owners falsely believe it’s something that happens to “someone else’s pet” or only in rural areas.
Misconceptions about heartworm disease have led to the proliferation of the disease, expensive veterinary bills, and, sadly, the untimely deaths of tens of thousands of pets a year.
Heartworm: A Growing Concern
Heartworm disease affects every state in the U.S. and is most often found in coastal climates where mosquitoes tend to thrive. Although heartworm is much more common in dogs, we are seeing more cats and ferrets diagnosed, especially among shelter populations.
It is currently estimated that over one million dogs are infected with heartworm, and yet only 30% of these cases will be diagnosed by a veterinarian. Further to this, roughly only half of dog owners keep their pets on a preventive.
This vulnerability in canines (as well as in unprotected cats) and the increasing presence of urban wildlife, which play host to the parasite as well, illuminate why this disease continues to spread. Continue…