How Significant is My Pet's Risk for Heartworm Infection?
Updated: Nov 1, 2019
Many factors must be considered, even if heartworms do not seem to be a problem in your local area. Your community may have a greater incidence of heartworm disease than you realize, or you may unknowingly travel with your pet to an area where heartworms are more common.
Heartworm disease is also spreading to new regions of the country each year. Stray and neglected dogs and certain wildlife such as coyotes, wolves, and foxes can be carriers of heartworms. Mosquitoes blown great distances by the wind and the relocation of infected pets to previously uninfected areas also contribute to the spread of heartworm disease (this happened following Hurricane Katrina when 250,000 pets, many of them infected with heartworms, were “adopted” and shipped throughout the country).
The fact is that heartworm disease has been diagnosed in all 50 states, and risk factors are impossible to predict. Multiple variables, from climate variations to the presence of wildlife carriers, cause rates of infections to vary dramatically from year to year - even within communities. And because infected mosquitoes can come inside, both outdoor and indoor pets are at risk. Additionally, here in South Carolina, we often have mild moments in our fall/winter weather, allowing for mosquitoes to appear randomly throughout the year.
For that reason, it is recommended that you follow, "The Rule of Twelve." Have your dog tested every 12 months for heartworms, and give your pet heartworm preventive all 12 months a year.
If you would like to discuss Heartworm Disease further, wish to have your dog tested, or would like to know about the different options for Heartworm preventatives we offer, please call our office (843-669-1544) to schedule an appointment.