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Louisville Veterinarian Says Summer Heartworm Protection a Must for Pet Health

LOUISVILLE, Ky., June 1, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Audubon Animal Medical Center is reminding Louisville pet owners about the importance of protecting their dogs from heartworms, fleas and ticks this summer. Dogs are more likely to spend time outside during the summer, and consequently at increased risk for contracting these parasites. Louisville veterinarian Dr. James T. Grace is reminding pet owners that heartworm protection, along with a medicated flea/tick preventative, is the best way to keep pets healthy all summer long.

Due to the increased risk for heartworm disease transmission, along with exposure to fleas and ticks, Louisville veterinarian Dr. James T. Grace is reminding pet owners about the importance of flea, tick, and heartworm protection.

"Preventative medicine not only protects pets from discomfort, but also saves pet owners from large veterinary care bills," said Grace. "As pets spend more time outside during the summer, they are at increased risk for exposure to these parasites. Heartworm protection and flea/tick prevention is an absolute must."

Heartworm disease is transmitted through mosquito bites. While heartworms are costly to cure, they are easy to prevent. A monthly heartworm prevention chewable tablet will provide 30 days of protection.

"Heartworms are extremely deadly and difficult to detect without proactive blood work," said Dr. Grace. "Once a pet is infected, the heartworms will migrate to the dog's heart and lungs, where they will lodge themselves in the surrounding tissue. Adult heartworms can grow up to 12 inches, effectively choking a pet's oxygen supply and restricting blood flow."

In addition to heartworm prevention, Dr. Grace emphasized that pet owners also need to proactively take steps to prevent fleas and ticks because these pests also spread illness. For example, Lyme disease is transmitted through a tick bite. Once in the bloodstream, the Lyme disease-causing organism will typically enter a pet's joints, causing lameness, swollen joints, and fever.

Fleas, like ticks, can cause serious health problems for pets. A single fleabite, for example, can trigger an allergic reaction that lasts for more than one week. Once fleas begin laying eggs on a dog, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of these fleas. Dogs can also spread fleas inside a home, leaving flea eggs and larvae on carpets, upholstered furniture, and other surfaces.

"Fleas and ticks pose serious health threats to dogs," said Dr. Grace. "The most effective way to protect pets is with a medicated flea/tick preventative. This can either be applied topically or administered in a chewable tablet."

Before starting heartworm prevention medication, a dog will need to have a blood screening test administered to confirm that the dog is currently heartworm free. Flea/tick prevention can be started at any time.

Louisville pet owners who would like to learn more about the different flea, tick and heartworm prevention options should contact Audubon Animal Medical Center.

CONTACT: Audubon Animal Medical Center - 1-888-667-5235Source:Audubon Animal Medical CenterandCherokee Animal Clinic