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!

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.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer Part 2

The summer is a magical time in many ways, but it can also be a dangerous season for your pet.

Your pet faces many different risks in the summer, and you can learn about them when you check out our previous blog series. Although summer can be a dangerous season for pets in many different ways, there are also many things you, as a pet owner, can do to keep your pet safe and protected throughout the summer. In part one of this series, we touched on the first few steps you can take to keep your pet safe this summer. Keep reading to learn more.

#7. Protect your dog from sunburns.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that dogs can get sunburned just like people can. Some dogs are more susceptible to sunburns than other dogs, like dogs that are hairless, have thin hair or have white fur. However, no matter what breed your dog is, all dogs have areas of their bodies that are at risk for burns, like the ears and belly. The risk of sunburn is even higher if you shave your dog in the summer and expose the skin underneath it. However, you can protect against sunburns by using a sunscreen that is safe for dogs. Avoid any and all sunscreen that has zinc-oxide in it. This common ingredient in sunscreen is toxic to dogs, and because dogs like to lick the sunscreen off, it could easily get ingested.

#8. Know and watch for the signs of heat stroke.

Heat stroke is a major concern in the summer, and it can be caused by many different things, from leaving your pet in the hot car to over-exercising your pet in the middle of the hottest part of the day. Some pets are even more prone to heat stroke than others, including pets who are overweight, very young and very old, pets who have respiratory issues, and pets who haven’t been conditioned to exercise. Additionally, dog breeds that have short muzzles, like Bully breeds and pugs, have a harder time breathing in the heat and should be monitored closely. The signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, fever, lethargy, profuse salivation, lack of coordination, vomiting, a purple or deep red tongue, unconsciousness and seizure. At the first sign of a heatstroke, bring your dog to our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens.

#9. Avoid giving your pet people food.

With barbecues and picnics all summer long, many pet owners are tempted to let their furry friends in on the fun by feeding them leftovers or table scraps. However, it’s important to remember that many foods that are safe for humans are toxic for dogs and/or cats. Onions, raisins, mushrooms, grapes and chocolate are just a few of the many foods that are unsafe for pets to consume, but there are many more. Furthermore, other foods that may not be toxic for your pet could still be dangerous for them to consume. Chicken bones, for example, aren’t poisonous, but when ingested, they can splinter and puncture your pet’s digestive tract. As a general rule, it’s best to avoid giving any people food to your pets, but if you must, at least do your research to make sure it’s safe first.

#10. Take precautions when you travel.

Summer is a great time for family vacations, and if your furry friend will be traveling with you, you’ll want to make sure they are safe. Never put your dog in the back of an open pickup truck. It’s incredibly dangerous for your dog, as they could fall out or jump out easily. Even allowing your pet to hang halfway out of your car window can be dangerous, as they may jump out or could end up getting hit by something. Pets who are loose inside a car may get scared and try to jump on the driver’s lap, increasing the risk of an accident. A pet carrier is the safest place for your pet while traveling, but make sure that you take frequent breaks so that your pet can stretch their legs and do their business.

#11. Leave your dog at home on the Fourth of July.

The Fourth of July is the biggest fireworks’ holiday in the United States, and as such, it can be a terrifying experience for your dog. That’s why it’s always better to leave your dog at home for the festivities than it is to bring them along. A terrified dog can act in unpredictable ways, putting themselves as well as other at risk, and your dog will feel much more comfortable at home, where it’s hopefully at least a little quieter.

Let us help you keep your pet safe this summer.

Summer can be a risky time for our pets, but with a few precautions and a little knowledge, you can do a lot to prevent your pet from getting hurt or sick. If you have questions or concerns, or your pet needs veterinary attention, contact us at The Vet Set today.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe This Summer

With the summer, comes many risks for our pets.

The summer is finally here, and it’s time to say goodbye to those short, cold days of winter. While there’s a lot to be excited about in the summer, it’s important to know about the risks summer brings for our pets. In our last blog series, we talked about summer dangers for pets, and if you had a chance to read it, then you already know about the many things that can put your pet at risk. Luckily though, there are lots of things you can do as a pet owner to keep your pet safe. Here are just a few of them:

#1. Make sure your pet is on a heartworm preventative.

We recommend that you give your pet a heartworm preventative all year round, but if your pet isn’t currently on one, now is the time to get started. Heartworm is transmitted to dogs and cats by mosquitoes, which are most active in the summer, and the cheapest and easiest way to deal with heartworm is to prevent it. If you wait until your pet has already contracted heartworm to start being concerned about it, you’ll be faced with an expensive treatment option that is nowhere near as effective as prevention. Schedule your appointment with our animal hospital in Carroll Gardens today to get your pet started on a heartworm prevention.

#2. Be mindful about the heat when exercising your dog.

All dogs need exercise, and the summer doesn’t change that. However, in the summer, you may not be able to take your dog for a run in the middle of the day because of the heat. Dogs can get overheated quickly, and pushing your dog to exercise during the hottest part of the day is definitely a common cause. When the heat is on, take your dog for walks or runs early in the morning or later on in the evening to keep them from overheating.

#3. Make sure your dog always has water and a cool place to rest.

The summer is not the time of the year when it’s okay to leave your dog tethered to a leash outside in the full glare of the sun. Besides the fact that it is illegal in the state of New York to leave your dog tethered alone for more than three hours, it also puts their life at risk. This is another surefire way to overheat your dog, and it’s always essential that your dog has a cool place to hang out and plenty of water to drink. The same goes for leaving your dog in the car while you run errands. Contrary to what you might think, it gets much too hot in a car to leave your dog for even a short amount of time without the risk of overheating.

#4. Don’t leave your dog unsupervised around water.

Despite what a lot of people think, not every dog is going to be a natural in the water. Believe it or not, thousands of dogs die every year from drowning in backyard pools, and you should absolutely never leave your dog unsupervised in the water. For even more peace of mind, buy a life jacket for your dog to wear when you’re in the water!

#5. Be mindful of your pet’s feet when out walking.

When you’re out walking, it’s important to be mindful about the ground you’re walking on. Your pet doesn’t have shoes on like you do, and the hot asphalt underneath their feet can cause burns. When you’re walking outside, try to stay on grass and dirt during the hottest part of the day. But, as a general rule, you’re much better off walking your pet during a cooler part of the day, like in the mornings or evenings.

#6. Make sure all of your windows have screens.

If you’re home doesn’t have air conditioning, tempting a breeze into your home by opening your windows is one of the best ways to keep cool during the summer. However, it’s important to ensure that any windows you leave open have screens. Both cats and dogs could easily get out if you leave ground-level windows open, putting them at risk for getting lost, in a fight or run over by a car. And, if you live on the second floor or higher, it’s even more important to ensure that all windows have screens, as pets can fall out and get hurt or killed. Summer can be a dangerous time for pets for many reasons, but there are lots of things you can do to keep your pet safe. To learn more tips for protecting your pet this summer, please stay tuned for our next blog. And, if your pet is due for a veterinary visit, schedule your appointment with us at The Vet Set in Carroll Gardens today!

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