Protect Your Pet Against the Devastating Effects of Parasite-Borne Diseases

Heartworm & Flea Prevention With The Help of Spencer Animal Hospital Staff

Heartworm disease can be characterized as a silent killer. It is a life-threatening illness contracted through the bite of a mosquito. Once an animal is infected, worms begin to reproduce and live in the blood of the dog or cat’s heart and lungs. Over time, these worms begin to clog the heart and major blood vessels. They may also interfere with the valve action of the heart causing impaired lung function, heart weakness, and, if left untreated, congestive heart failure and death.

No symptoms are evident until worms start to crowd the animal’s heart and lungs. At that time, you may notice an occasional cough and tiredness after moderate activity. By the time serious symptoms appear, a great deal of damage has already been done. Once infected, it is possible to cure heartworm disease, but the treatment is expensive and risky. A powerful medicine is used to kill the worms; however, the medicine can be potentially toxic to your pet. As the worms die, they may cause serious complications such as blood clots in the lungs.

Fortunately, heartworm disease is preventable. There are a variety of options for preventing heartworm infection, including daily and monthly tablets, chewables, and monthly topicals. We also offer ProHeart 6, which is an injectable heartworm preventive product given every six months. We recommend year-round heartworm protection for both cats and dogs.

For more information on the benefits of heartworm prevention, read The High Cost of Heartworm Disease from the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Healthy Pet website.

Fleas and Ticks

By the time you see fleas on your pet, you have a problem. When one pet has fleas, all the animals in the household have them, too. Fleas can be hard to detect; when visible, they look like tiny black grains. In mild infestations, many owners may mistake their pet’s itching and scratching as normal grooming or dry skin. In more severe infestations, the constant itching and scratching not only causes your pet to suffer needlessly, but also some secondary issues include excessive itching, allergic dermatitis, hair loss, scabs, hot spots, anemia, and tapeworms can develop as well.

Ticks feed on the blood of host animals, including dogs, cats, and humans. Most active in the spring and fall, they live in tall brush or grass, where they attach to their victims usually around the head, neck, feet, and ear area, but may be found anywhere on the body.

In the United States, there are about 200 species of ticks. Most of them do not pose a serious health risk to animals or humans. However, a variety of deadly diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis (a bacterial infection), and babesiosis (a blood disorder), are the result of a tick bite. Indoor cats can also be at risk of tick bites especially if they come in contact with other untreated animals.

Flea and Tick Control

The best way to control fleas and ticks is with prevention. There are many products available for flea and tick control. The most widely used treatment option is a topical liquid applied directly to the neck and back. Other products include shampoos, sprays, and powders. Flea and tick treatments vary based on the type of pet, age, size, health, and lifestyle of the animal.

If you find you have a flea infestation, the entire environment where your pet lives must be treated to ensure complete elimination of the parasite. Thoroughly clean your house, including rugs, bedding, and upholstery, and discard vacuum bags immediately. You may need to use a spray or fogger, which requires temporary evacuation of the home. If your pets live or go outside, it may be important to treat your yard as well—concentrate on outdoor kennels and shady areas, and use an insecticide that kills flea larvae. If you have any questions about how to eliminate a flea infestation, consult your veterinarian for recommended treatment options.

Dr. Mangum and his staff have been our pets’ choice clinic since 1971. Never has there been a more knowledgeable, caring, and friendly team with such unprecedented customer service. Forty one years of great service to us and all of our pets throughout the years!
– Barbara Groh

We have been clients of Spencer Animal Hospital for over 35 years. I know I have always been given excellent care whether it has been routine health care or for an emergency. I appreciate the kindness given to us and our animals and the honest information given when sometimes it is not what we wanted to hear.
–Sue Blansett

Dr. Mangum, Dr. Borovik and the staff of Spencer Animal Hospital have become an extension of our family by caring for our beloved pets. The doctors continue to keep abreast of changes in veterinary medicine, and have also worked with specialists in the care of our pets. We know that when we take our pet to Dr. Mangum and Dr. Borovik, be it for their yearly check-up or if they are ill, we can be confident they are receiving the best care available.
– The Gregory’s