One crisp fall day last week, I spotted—and swatted—a mosquito in my kitchen. As much as a I love all creatures great and small, I am first and foremost a doctor dedicated to protecting my loved ones, including family members and patients, from the many diseases mosquitoes carry—not to mention, the discomfort of itchy mosquito bites.
Long before the mosquito-borne Zika virus became such a concern in human medicine, heartworms, which are also carried by mosquitoes, have been a concern for veterinarians.
Fortunately, the proverbial ounce of prevention for dogs and cats is readily available in the form of heartworm preventives, such as the many brands we carry in our online store. We also stock heartworm preventives at the clinic. Our doctors are happy to discuss how these products work and help you choose which one is right for your dog or cat.
All the pets in our household are on heartworm preventive year-round, so even if the mosquito I encountered had managed a bite, the risk of their being infected would have been quite low.
But some clients insist their pets need heartworm preventive only during the summer months because mosquitoes are not a problem at other times of the year. A few insist their pets don’t need heartworm preventive at all because they stay in the house all the time.
The fact is, while there are more mosquitoes during the warmer months, there is no time of year when mosquitoes are not present in our climate.
And mosquitoes can and do come indoors, looking for people and pets to provide the protein and iron found in blood to make their eggs.
To learn more about heartworms, visit The American Heartworm Society’s “Heartworm Basics” page.