Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Heartworm Part 2

There are so many dangerous myths out there about heartworm disease.

Heartworm is an incredibly serious disease, and it’s important for pet owners to take it seriously and take steps to prevent their pet from contracting it. However, there are many myths out there that can mislead pet owners and put their pets at risk. In our last blog, our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens set out to debunk the most common myths about heartworm. Keep reading to learn the truth about a few more myths.

Myth #6. You can use natural remedies to prevent heartworm.

There are lots of great ways to reduce your pet’s risk of heartworm naturally by reducing their risk of getting bitten by mosquitoes. Things, like eliminating standing water and using pet-safe insecticides and repellents, can help to keep your pet safe. However, none of these things can prevent your pet from getting infected with heartworm disease if they do get bit. According to the experts, avoidance and repellents are excellent additions to preventatives, but they should not replace them.

Myth #7. Heartworm disease is contagious.

Heartworm disease cannot be spread from pet to pet or from pet to person. So if you’re worried that your pet will get heartworm by hanging around another pet that has been diagnosed, don’t be. Heartworm disease also cannot be transmitted to humans from our pets. The only way that pets get heartworm disease is when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. If the pet who has been bitten is not on a heartworm preventative, the heartworm larvae will multiply and mature, eventually damaging the lungs and heart.

Myth #8. Heartworm prevention is too expensive and inconvenient.

When it comes to heartworm disease, you’ll find that prevention is a much more cost-effective method than treatment. Depending on the brand of preventative you use, you’ll probably only have to pay between five and 15 dollars per month, and you’ll be doing your part to protect your pet’s quality of life. Heartworm treatment, on the other hand, can cost up to 10 times the cost of heartworm preventative for an entire year. And, as far as convenience goes, giving your pet a heartworm preventative doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can give your pet a monthly chewable, and there are even bi-annual injections available as well.

Myth #9. Only pets who live in the south need heartworm preventative.

When people think of mosquitoes, they often think of humid southern states, like Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas, but the reality is that mosquitoes exist throughout the whole of the United States. What’s even more surprising is that mosquitoes are actually quite common in big cities. In fact, New York City is listed as one of the top 20 worst cities in the United States for mosquitoes. Here in Carroll Gardens, it’s essential that your pet is on a heartworm preventative, and that’s true no matter where you live.

Myth #10. It’s okay to skip doses of preventative every once in a while.

Most people think that heartworm disease prevents a pet from being infected with heartworm disease, but in all actuality, it works by killing and eliminating the larvae after a pet is infected, preventing it from developing into adult heartworms. It only takes about 51 days for heartworm larvae to reach maturity, and by that point, they cannot be effectively eliminated with preventative medications. It’s incredibly important to always ensure that you give your pet their heartworm medication on time every month because late or missed dose could give the larvae enough time to fully mature. Stop believing the myths about heartworm disease and start taking the appropriate steps to keep your pet healthy. Schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today!

Debunking the Top 10 Myths About Heartworm

When it comes to heartworm, there are many myths that need to be debunked.

Heartworm is a disease that is transferred to pets when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes, and it can be incredibly serious. Unfortunately, there are many myths out there about heartworm that lead people to believe that preventative measures are unnecessary, and this puts pets at risk. That’s why your premier Carroll Gardens’ animal hospital has set out to help you discover the truth about the most common heartworm myths.

Myth #1. Cats don’t get heartworm.

While it’s true that, compared to cats, dogs are certainly at a higher risk for getting heartworm, this doesn’t mean that cats are immune. When cats are exposed to heartworm larvae, around 75 percent become infected, which is certainly better odds than the 100 percent of dogs that will become infected, but the odds still aren’t great. Additionally, there are fewer heartworm treatment options for cats than there are for dogs, which means that prevention is the best and easiest way to keep both dogs and cats healthy.

Myth #2. Heartworm disease is only a concern during the summer.

Because heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and mosquitoes are most prevalent during the summer, many pet owners don’t believe that they have to worry about heartworm disease throughout the fall and winter, but that’s simply not the case. The fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict when mosquitoes will appear, and that’s becoming even more difficult with warming climates that extend the active season for mosquitoes. When it comes to your pet’s health, never take a chance.

Myth #3. Only outdoor pets are at risk for getting heartworm.

Pets who spend most of their time outside, particularly those who spend their time by the water, are certainly at a higher risk than pets who spend all of their time inside. But, this doesn’t mean that keeping your pets inside is a surefire way to eliminate the risk altogether. Whether it be through an open door or window, or through air leaks in the home, infected mosquitoes can find their way inside and make your indoor pet sick. In fact, around a quarter of all cats that have been diagnosed with heartworm disease are indoor cats.

Myth #4. If your pet is on a preventative, there’s no need to get them tested for heartworm.

Heartworm preventatives are very effective, but that doesn’t means that they are 100-percent foolproof 100 percent of the time. Furthermore, even the best and most attentive pet owners can sometimes forget to give their pet a dose of their heartworm preventative. Getting your pest tested for heartworm every year ensures that the preventative is working as it should be.

Myth #5. Heartworm disease is not all that serious.

Contrary to popular belief, heartworm is a devastating disease that can be potentially fatal if it’s left untreated. It impacts the lungs and heart, and it can cause permanent damage to the pulmonary blood vessels. If heartworm is not treated, it can lead to heart failure in dogs and lung disease in cats. Not only can heartworm be fatal, but for pets that do survive, it can have a major impact on their quality of life.

Is your pet due for a heartworm test?

Regardless of whether or not your pet is on a heartworm preventative, it’s important to get them tested every year. This is also the perfect time for our veterinarian to examine your pet to make sure they are as healthy as possible. Schedule your appointment with us at The Vet Set today. In our next blog, we’ll be debunking a few more myths about heartworm disease, so make sure that you stay tuned!

How to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Anything and Everything

Too often, dogs eat things that are toxic or inedible.

If you’ve had a chance to read our first blog in this series, then you already know about the many reasons why dogs eat things they shouldn’t, and in our last blog, we talked about what you should do if you think your dog ingested something toxic or inedible. In most cases, dogs who have ingested something they shouldn’t can be treated, but it’s much better for everyone involved if you can prevent your dog from doing this in in the first place. But, if your dog is a compulsive eater, what can you do to prevent it from happening? Here are a few steps you can take to prevent your dog from eating anything and everything:

#1. Keep toxins and other dangerous objects out of reach.

First and foremost, if you know your dog will ingest just about anything, you should make it a point to keep any and all toxins and dangerous objects far away from your dog. If your dog can’t get to it, they can’t ingest it!

#2. Walk your dog or keep them otherwise entertained every day.

Boredom is a big reason why some dogs chew on shoes, socks and other objects that can be dangerous for them to consume, so make sure you do your part to keep them mentally and physically entertained. Walking your dog every day, playing with your dog and training your dog to do new tricks are all great ways to keep them from being bored.

#3. Give your dog plenty of attention and love.

Dogs are social animals, and sometimes, dogs who don’t get enough attention will act out, like by eating something they know they shouldn’t, simply to get a reaction out of their owner. Don’t make your dog resort to acting out in order to get you to pay attention to them. Take time out of your schedule to spend one-on-one with your dog every single day to show how much you care about them.

#4. Watch your dog closely when they’re chewing on toys.

Many chew toys for dogs, like bully sticks, can blur the lines between toys and food making it confusing for some dogs. Any time your dog is chewing on a toy with parts that could be torn away and ingested, like stuffed animals with beaded eyes, or any toys meant to be chewed on but not ingested, like rawhides, keep a close eye on your dog. However, if your dog has had a history of ingesting those types of toys in the past it’s best to avoid them altogether.

#5. Use a dog repellent spray.

If there are objects in your house that your dog constantly chews on that you can’t get rid of, like furniture, you may be able to keep your pet away by using a dog repellent spray. These sprays are non-toxic, so even if your dog powers through and chews on the object anyway, the spray won’t hurt them.

#6. Consider dare care.

If you are gone for long periods of time for work, school or anything else, and you know that your dog likes to get into things, it might be best to consider day care for your dog while you’re away. Day care provides both mental and physical stimulation leaving your dog tired and happy when you pick her up.

#7. Don’t reward bad behavior.

As we mentioned in our third point, some dogs will eat things because they know they will get a reaction out of their owner and they are looking for attention. If you think that your dog may be eating things to get attention, it’s important that you don’t react if you catch them eating something they shouldn’t. Even a bad reaction is a reaction, but if you simply ignore your dog, it will teach them that eating inedible objects is not the way to get your attention.

#8. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian in Carroll Gardens.

In most cases, pica — a condition that compels dogs to eat things that are inedible — is a behavioral issue that can be trained out of a dog, but that’s not always the case. There are many health conditions that can cause your dog to eat anything and everything. In order to rule out health concerns, you’ll need to visit your veterinarian. Additionally, some dogs compulsively eat because of stress or anxiety, and your veterinarian may be able to prescribe medication or offer up other interventions to help to calm your dog. Ingesting toxins and inanimate objects is a surefire way for your dog to end up in the emergency veterinary clinic, and we hope that this blog will help you learn how to prevent your dog from eating these things and help to keep them safe. If you think that anxiety or a medical condition is contributing to your dog’s pica, schedule your appointment with The Vet Set today!

What to do if Your Dog Eats Something They Shouldn't

Does your dog eat just about anything in sight?

Pica is a compulsive behavior disorder that causes dogs to eat things that aren’t edible. In our last blog, we went over several reasons why many dogs develop pica. But understanding why your dog is eating something they shouldn’t is just the first step; you also need to know what to do when your dog eats something that could obstruct their digestive system or something that could be toxic to them. That’s why your go-to animal hospital in Carroll Gardens has come up with this guide on what to do when your dog eats something they shouldn’t.

When Your Dog Ingests a Toxin

In 2016, the Animal Poison Control Center run by the ASPCA was called by more than 180,000 pet owners whose dog or cat ate something toxic, and that number doesn’t even include any of the other poison control centers or the many pets who are treated by local veterinarians. The fact of the matter is that there are many different things around your home that could be toxic to your pet, and before we get into what to do when your dog ingested a toxin, you need to know what they are.

Common Toxins Dog Owners Should Watch Out For

  • Human Medications - These include prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as natural supplements and herbs.
  • Table Scraps - Not all table scraps are toxic for dogs, but many are, including chocolate, onions, coffee, garlic, raisins and grapes.
  • Rodenticides and Pesticides - Never store or spray pesticides or rodenticides around your dog.
  • Pet Medications - Though these medications are safe when given according to your veterinarian’s instructions, they can be dangerous if your dog gets into the bottle and consumes too much.
  • Houseplants - There are many plants that can be dangerous to your pet, including chamomile, lillies and aloe vera.
  • Household Items - Keep household items, like paint, cleaning products and gardening products, well away from your dog.

Signs of Toxicity in Dogs

You may not always know when your dog has swallowed a toxin, and it’s important to be aware of the signs of toxicity in dogs:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bruising
  • Inability to urinate
  • Irregular heartbeat
Of course, the time it takes for these signs to show up, as well as the severity of these signs will depend on what and how much your dog consumed. Additionally, some dogs may not show any signs of toxicity at all, so make sure that you watch for other signs, like a spilled container, torn packaging or an empty wrapper. Regardless of whether your dog is actually showing symptoms, if you have reasons to believe they ate something toxic, don’t wait to take action.

What to Do if You Think Your Dog Ate Something Toxic

Get your dog someplace safe.
The very first thing you should do is get your dog away from the toxin in question so that they cannot consume any more. If you have other animals, keep them away from both the toxin and your dog.
Call your veterinarian right away.
Whether your pet has diarrhea or they are acting perfectly normal, you’ll want to make sure that you call your veterinarian as soon as possible if you think they ingested a toxin.
Don’t try to induce vomiting unless your veterinarian tells you to.
Many people go straight to inducing vomiting when their dog eats a toxin, but it’s important to know that, in some cases, this can actually make matters worse. For instance, if your dog ate something that is caustic, forcing them to vomit it back up could lead to severe esophageal irritation.
Prevent your dog from grooming themselves.
Don’t allow your dog to groom themselves, as the substance still could be on their paws or fur. If your dog needs a bath consult your veterinarian first as some chemicals can be absorbed by your dog’s skin.

What to Do When Your Dog Eats Other Objects

If your dogs eats any object that is inedible like socks, shoes, a tennis ball, sticks or bone fragments do not wait to contact your veterinarian. While these items may not be poisonous for dogs, they can cause other issues. Some things can get stuck in your dog’s digestive tract, leading to an obstruction, and sharp objects like sticks and bone fragments could puncture your dog’s intestines. In either case, surgery may be required to remove the object. If you think your dog ate something they shouldn't, don’t take a chance. Instead, contact our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens — The Vet Set — right away. While there are luckily treatment options that can help your dog to recover from ingesting something they shouldn’t, it’s much easier to prevent it from happening in the first place. Learn how to prevent your dog from eating things they shouldn’t when you stay tuned for our next blog.

Why Some Dogs Will Eat Anything

Some dogs will eat just about anything.

Dogs have been known to devour a wide variety of objects that aren’t edible and certainly aren’t meant to be consumed. For example, Ozzy, an American Bulldog, swallowed a tennis ball whole, while Bear, a Pomeranian Poodle mix, has eaten everything from her own poop to shoes and dead birds. The formal name for compulsive consumption is called pica, and it can cause a lot of trouble, but before we go into how to prevent your dog from eating anything and everything, it’s important to understand why they do this. Here are just a few of the many reasons why some dogs will eat just about anything:

#1. Dogs explore the world with their mouths.

Human babies learn about the world through their mouths, and dogs do, too. Puppies are born deaf and blind, which means that they have to rely on their skin, nose and mouth to learn about their environment. Additionally, puppies don’t have opposable thumbs, and they use their mouths to pick things up and carry things around. Young puppies may not know how to properly differentiate between eating things and carrying them around in their mouth, and that learned behavior can follow them into adulthood.

#2. Dogs have scavenging in their blood.

Dogs, as well as their wild ancestors, are natural scavengers, eating whatever they can find. In fact, it was this natural instinct to scavenge that helped to build the relationship between dogs and humans that we now enjoy today. Dogs were naturally drawn to scavenge the garbage humans threw away because it was easier and took less energy than hunting. And, even though today’s dogs are fed plenty of high-quality dog food, their natural instinct to scavenge hasn’t gone away, which can cause them to eat almost anything they find.

#3. Dogs can exhibit compulsive behavior when they are stressed.

Stress and anxiety can affect dogs just as much as it can affect people. When a dog is subjected to environments where they are in danger or in an otherwise stressful situation, it can cause them to start eating things that are inappropriate as a way to relieve the stress. Some dogs are anxious and restless even in the best environments. If you think that your dog might be eating things they shouldn’t due to stress and anxiety, consult your veterinarian.

#4. Dogs are instinctive bingers.

In the wild finding food on a regular basis is not always possible. So when a pack of dogs took down prey they would often eat the whole thing in one sitting. This is because it might be days or weeks until they get another meal, and it’s not like they could store it somewhere safe for later on. As we mentioned in our second point, domestic dogs nowadays don’t have to binge because they get regular meals. But that doesn’t mean that the instinct to binge has been eliminated.

#5. Dogs eat things when they’re bored.

Boredom, which is often caused by a lack of mental and/or physical exercise and sometimes a lack of company, can cause a dog to eat things that they shouldn’t. Just as people will eat when they are bored, so will dogs. However, dogs can’t peruse the pantry or the refrigerator, so it often leaves them to dig in the trash or even to chew on objects that aren’t edible. Make it a point to keep your dog physically and mentally stimulated with regular walks, games and other activities.

#6. Dog eat things to get attention.

Sometimes, dogs act out in order to get a reaction from their owners. If your dog isn’t feeling like they are getting the amount of attention they want from you they may eat things they know they shouldn’t simply because it causes you to react and give them attention, even if that attention is scolding them. For a dog that doesn’t get a lot of attention from owners even a scolding can be a welcome change.

#7. Dogs can gain insatiable appetites due to medical issues.

Not all dogs who eat anything and everything do so because of instinct or bad behavior. Sometimes, dogs feel hungry all the time because they are suffering from a medical issue. A few of the health conditions that can cause pica in dogs are Diabetes Melitus, a stomach tumor, hookworms, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, hyperthyroidism and many more. Now that you know what can cause dogs to eat just about anything, it’s time to learn what to do when you think your dog ingested something they shouldn’t. Be sure to stay tuned for our next blog to learn more! In the meantime, if you suspect your dog has ingested something inappropriate, don’t wait to get your dog the help they need. Contact our veterinary clinic in Carroll Gardens right away.

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