Ruff Times

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Should I give flea and heartworm preventative all year?
Published by Dr. Cassandra LaCava in Flea and Heartworm preventative • 1/28/2013 9:08:39 AM
In short, yes. You should be giving your petís heartworm and flea preventative every month. I know what you're thinking...don't fleas, ticks and mosquitos die during the winter? Not necessarily!

Let's break it down...why give the heartworm prevention? We live in Connecticut where weather is unpredictable and usually results in lingering populations of mosquitos. We also have a growing number of dogs from the south coming into our population because of rescue organizations and relief efforts. While dog to dog transmission cannot happen, a mosquito can bite and infected dog and infect your dog. Also, heartworm preventatives can also treat and prevent some intestinal parasitic diseases like hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm infestations.

What about fleas? They die after the first frost don't they? Well, when you live in an area where one day it's snowing and the next you're in cannot rely on the weather to keep fleas at bay! In fact, entomologists believe that our October snowstorm in 2011 actually insulated our ground, allowing fleas to breed like crazy! Did you wonder why the 2012 flea season was so bad? That's why!!!

Fleas also love to live in our homes, cling to carpets, drapes, and bedding!! You know how that warm bed feels better to you in the winter? It feels better to the fleas, too! We also bring fleas into our homes on our clothes and shoes. Just from being out in the world, you encounter many people and animals that can be carrying and spreading fleas.

There is also the argument that giving preventatives every month will keep you in the habit. You are much more likely to forget a dose if you skip the winter months.

As a veterinarian, I am often asked "What would you do if this was your pet?" Answer: My pets are on monthly flea/heartworm preventative year round!!

Here are some popular products available:

If you'd like more information on heartworm disease, check out this website:

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any ideas for blog topics, please share them with me! :)