Mosquitos are the single largest source of spreading disease and pathogens both to humans and to animals. The mosquito is responsible for millions of infections and over a million human deaths worldwide each year. While mosquitos can carry literally hundreds of diseases, the number one risk to pets is from heartworms.
Heartworms have a life cycle that depends on mosquitos as an intermediate host. It starts when a mosquito bites an infected host, like a dog. The infected dog’s blood has the juvenile form of the heartworm, called microfilaria. These enter the mosquito along with the blood meal and over the next 10 to 14 days, morph into the larval stage. The larvae are now able to infect a new host when it is bitten by the mosquito. In the new host, the larvae mature into adult heartworms and lodge in the heart and the blood vessels near the heart and lungs. The cycle begins again when these adult heartworms reproduce, and microfilaria are released throughout the bloodstream. As the cycle continues, the number of heartworms in an infected animal increases and the animal becomes sick to the point where it may die.
Did you know?
Dogs, wild relatives of the dog such as coyote, cats, and ferrets are all susceptible to heartworm infections. Signs of heartworm disease in dogs are progressive and include coughing, exercise intolerance, labored breathing, weight loss, and eventually heart failure. The blood flow in the heart may become blocked and cause a severe, life-threatening condition called caval syndrome.
Cats are more resistant to heartworm infection than dogs, but still at risk. A cat’s immune system may fight off heartworm infection, but they can still suffer from permanent damage from the heartworms in the form of chronic inflammation, heart disease, or heart failure. Unfortunately, there is no approved treatment for cats with heartworm infection making prevention critical for our feline companions.
Ferrets are also susceptible to heartworm infection. They suffer from the same symptoms as dogs, except that since a ferret’s heart is much smaller than a dog’s heart. Just one heartworm will cause a rapid onset of symptoms and may be enough to be fatal. Ferrets, like cats, have no approved treatment for heartworm infection. Treatment is aimed at reducing inflammation, stabilizing your pet, and developing a long-term management plan.
The good news is that heartworm is easily preventable. There are many products available to treat pets that are safe and effective, starting with puppies and kittens as young as 8 weeks old. Dogs, cats and ferrets should be on a year-round prevention program, even if you live in Michigan. One mosquito is all it takes to infect your pet. Mosquitos can find warm microenvironments, like inside your home, to survive in during Michigan winters. It is much easier and much less costly to prevent heartworm than it is to treat the disease. Ask your veterinarian about heartworm prevention. Your veterinarian can tell you about the preventative medications available for your pet and the relative benefits of each. At Blue Lake Animal Hospital we want to keep all our patients as healthy as possible and heartworm-free.
Prevention is key to supporting your pet’s ongoing health. We devise an individualized strategy to keep your pet healthy and happy.
We perform standard and specialized surgeries to address your pet’s health concerns, including spays, tumor removal, orthopedic surgeries, and more.
Vaccinations are an important part of preventing communicative diseases. Keep your pet up-to-date on their vaccinations right at our office.
Dental health is essential to your pet’s overall wellness. Our dental services cover all of your pet’s oral health needs, from tooth extraction to cleaning.
Year-round heartworm prevention is key to keeping your pet healthy. We provide FDA-approved treatments to prevent infection.
Fleas and ticks aren’t just a nuisance: they pose a serious threat to your pet’s health. Protect your pet with preventative medicine.
Pocket pets have unique health needs. Our team addresses your pet’s health issues and develops a strategy, so they feel like their energetic self.
We provide comprehensive reproductive care for pets, including artificial insemination, neonatal care, fertility exams, and more.
Rely on us when your pet needs urgent care. We know emergencies are stressful, so we treat urgent health concerns with the utmost care.
Managing your pet’s medical needs is easy when you use our online pharmacy. Renew your pet’s prescription and purchase FDA-approved medication right from the comfort of your home. If you have any questions, contact us to speak with a trusted veterinarian.
Everyone is always helpful and nice. Glad we switched veterinarians.
Dr. Heather always takes the best care of our animals. Thank you!
Very friendly team and thoroughly enjoyed our first welcome appointment with our new puppy!
My pet got attacked and needed help right away - Blue Lake fit us in, performed surgery and Dr. Will kept me apprised the whole time. When there were complications, they again fit us in right away and helped. Great vet office.
We live in Lansing and travel to the clinic for all of our dogs. Dr. Heather is so knowledgeable and actually gave us a more precise date on when our dog should have a c-section. If we would have gone off the previous advice from a different vet…
I can't say enough good about Blue Lake. My dog Buster is 15 years old and has some expected health issues, but they are always helpful with my pet and his needs.
This is a very caring place to bring your pet.
We have a reptile that needed some immediate care. The staff was able to get us an appointment within a couple of days. We received very good care for our reptile friend and will definitely use them again for any of our exotic pets.
Very courteous staff.