At TCAP, we serve many clients who have increased concerns about heartworms during the warmer months of the year. However, in the North Texas climate, heartworms are a threat year-round. Approximately 10-20 dogs test positive for heartworms each month in TCAP. This is often caused by the misconception that inside dogs don’t need heartworm prevention or that dogs are safe from heartworms during winter months. As you will see, heartworms are hard to prevent without heartworm medication and heartworms are much more difficult and expensive to treat than to prevent.
The Companion Animal Parasite Council released a 2019 forecast that, “despite the availability of heartworm chemoprophylaxis, Endemic areas of heartworm disease [are] expected to have higher than average prevalence in 2019.” Like most years, Texas was predicted to be one of the hardest hit regions. This is due to two major preconceptions regarding heartworms.
Misconception #1: Indoor-Only Pets Are Safe From Heartworms
While it is true that outdoor dogs are more likely to be bitten my infected mosquitoes, it is common that mosquitoes come inside our homes looking for blood meals. It only takes one mosquito bite to infect a healthy pet with heartworms. It is important to note that just because you do not notice mosquitoes, it does not mean they are not present. Heartworm prevention is still an essential part of yearly care for dogs because of the risk that all pets are exposed to in Texas, both inside and outside the home.
Misconception #2: Mosquitoes are not active in colder months
Texas does not have standard weather patterns. Our winters can present weather days with snow one week and be 80 degrees the next. While freezes do kill adult mosquitoes (the ones outdoors at least), their eggs are tough and are meant to ride out extreme temperatures. In fact, mosquito eggs can lie dormant for up to two years before hatching when ideal conditions present themselves. Protecting our dogs requires vigilance and keeping our pets on heartworm prevention year round.
At TCAP, community animal welfare is essential to use and we believe that consistency with heartworm prevention is a key component in achieving that goal. Do you need to get your pet started on heartworm prevention? Come in with your dog during TCAP’s Walk-in Vaccine Hours to purchase a heartworm test and go home with some protection today. Through the end of October 2019, heartworm tests are only $10 when you purchase a year of Tri-Heart or Trifexis for the same pet in the same visit.