Vets urge heartworm testing, prevention during warmer weather - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Vets urge heartworm testing, prevention during warmer weather

Vets urge pet owners to protect their dogs against heartworms. (Source: WALB) Vets urge pet owners to protect their dogs against heartworms. (Source: WALB)
Heartworms infest the lungs and hearts of infected animals. (Source: WALB) Heartworms infest the lungs and hearts of infected animals. (Source: WALB)
Mosquitoes carry the heartworm disease. (Source: WALB) Mosquitoes carry the heartworm disease. (Source: WALB)
These organs of a Jack Russell dog became infected with heartworms. (Source: WALB) These organs of a Jack Russell dog became infected with heartworms. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

With the weather getting warmer and wetter, vets are urging pet owners to make sure their four-legged friends are safe.

Zika virus has made headlines as a mosquito-carried disease for humans, but mosquitoes also bring risks for dogs too. 

Heartworm disease is a preventable, yet deadly, disease, for dogs that is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. 

"The thing that I tell my clients is it's not if your dog is going to get heartworms in south Georgia, it's when," said Carie Wisel, owner of Companion Animal Hospital.

Vets stress using prevention medication for pets, especially since south Georgia has a large mosquito population.

"For the amount of money that you would have to spend to actually do the treatment to kill the adult heartworms, you could buy 5 to 7 years worth of heartworm prevention and never let it happen," Wisel said.

"Any mosquito can give a dog heartworm, it just depends on if they're carrying it or not," said Allison Manning, pet trainer at the Albany PetSmart.

If your dog does contract heartworm, detecting it as early as possible is best.

Companion Animal Hospital is hoping pet parents can bring their dogs to the clinic to take advantage of special-priced $10 heartworm testing. The deadline to schedule an appointment for $10 testing is Monday, April 4. More information is posted on their Facebook.

Pet owners who buy a year of heartworm prevention from Companion Animal Hospital can get the testing done for free.

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