Keeping Your Dog Heartworm Safe

heartworms in a dogA single bite from a single infected mosquito can cause an otherwise healthy dog to develop heartworm disease and potentially die.

A heartworm is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an affected dog. The worms travel through the bloodstream, damaging arteries and vital organs as they go, before arriving at the lungs and heart approximately six months after that initial mosquito bite. Several hundred worms can live in a single dog from between five and seven years, and if left untreated, can prove fatal.

The best protection against this insidious disease? Prevention. Prevention is both safe and effective, whereas treating the disease itself is complicated, costly, and can, like the disease, have serious, even fatal, effects on the stricken dog.

Preventives work by killing the heartworm larvae before they can grow and mature into adult heartworms. Although a variety of preventives are now available to conscientious pet owners everywhere, the first step in the prevention process is a visit to the vet.

Most vets recommend yearly testing for heartworm in dogs older than 6 months, usually in late spring. If your dog is heartworm negative, inexpensive, chewable pills are available with your vet’s prescription. The pills, which are palatable to most dogs, must be given to your dog monthly and are manufactured by several companies. These pills can also be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test.

Besides pills, there are specially designed, chemical preventive products that you apply directly onto your dog’s skin. Some heartworm preventives contain additional ingredients that will control other parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms, while the topical preventives prescribed by your vet will protect your dog against fleas and ticks as well.

If you choose the vet-prescribed pill, you can opt to give it to your dog only during mosquito season (from spring through the first frost), but the most recent recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to keep giving them all year round. And remember, although your dog may not go outside, mosquitoes can still get INside.

For those preferring to NOT use either the pill or the topical preventive, homeopathic veterinarians advise testing your dog for heartworm twice yearly.

In short, consult with your vet. Protect the dog you love against these invasive, potentially fatal parasites, and this summer all of you can rest, assured.

Author: Nomi Berger

“Go Orange” In April For The Animals

abused shih tzu“Every sixty seconds, an animal is abused.”

This, according to the ASPCA. And so, they have designated April as “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” Month. They have also urged their supporters everywhere to “Go Orange for Animals” to increase public awareness.

The following are ways YOU can help.


Using your personal Facebook account, create an ASPCA fundraising page for an important event in your life and share it with friends and family. Whether you “donate” your birthday, honor the memory of a beloved pet or run a 5k with Team ASPCA, the money you raise will benefit needy animals nationwide.


Drawing on your own, personal contacts, team up with a local shelter or rescue in sponsoring a ”Go Orange for Animals” event (wearing orange, of course). Whether it’s an adoption event or a donation drive, give them the proceeds and/or supplies you’ve collected, and know the difference you’re making is huge!


Spread the word about “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” Month by posting on your social media networks using the hashtag #fightcruelty and tagging @aspca. Encourage your family and friends to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center online, join their Advocacy Brigade to receive emails about important animal welfare-related legislation, and learn how YOU can become a voice for the voiceless.


Looking for the perfect fur friend for your family? Both shelters and rescue groups have loving dogs and cats of all breeds, ages and colors, desperate to find their own perfect families. By adopting, not shopping, you’re saving two lives: the life of the animal you adopt and the life of the animal taking its place.

How To Report Animal Cruelty

If you witness the act yourself, you can go to your local police commissioner and ask to swear out a warrant summoning the accused person to court.

Or you can find out precisely where to report the incident in your area. Then, either call or email them, providing a concise, factual statement of what you observed,

including the date and approximate time of the abuse.

If possible, photograph the abusive situation and date your pictures.

If possible, gather brief, factual written statements from other witnesses.

If you have documents pertinent to your complaint, always make copies for your own records before giving them to anyone else.

If you call to report a case of animal cruelty, keep a record of the person you contact, the date, and the content and outcome of your discussion. Make it clear that you are interested in pursuing the case, and that you will help in any way you can.

If you don’t receive a response from the agent/officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, follow up. Present your information to his/her supervisor and, if necessary, to local government officials, such as the county commissioner, and ask them to act.

Remember. If YOU don’t speak up, this abuse is likely to happen again.

Author: Nomi Berger

Canine Flu Cases On The Rise

Canine Patient in Hospital RoomMore and more outdoors events are being cancelled, more and more dogs are being affected, and more and more Midwestern cities are bracing for the worst.

Health officials, especially in the Chicago area, have cautioned dog owners that a recent surge in the number of reported cases of canine flu could continue for SEVERAL weeks.

According to the Cook County Department of Animal and Rabies Control, veterinarians have already identified over 1,000 cases of Influenza or H3N8, including some deaths.

Although sick dogs can be asymptomatic, they are still contagious, and dog owners are being warned to avoid dog parks and to keep their dogs away from other dogs. Because the virus can spread so easily from dog to dog, shelters and sanctuaries, day cares and boarding kennels are especially concerned and particularly at risk.

Both Bordetella and the flu virus have symptoms that mimic each other. Symptoms of the flu include persistent coughing, dry cough, fever, nasal discharge, lack of energy, and loss of appetite. In about 20 percent of cases, more severe symptoms can occur, including high fever and pneumonia. A small number of dogs can also die from complications of the disease.

Canine flu, which first appeared in dogs in 2005, is NOT contagious to humans and WON’T spread to cats, but people who have been in contact with a dog infected by the virus CAN inadvertently spread it to their own and other dogs. Careful hand washing after petting a dog, any dog, may help to slow the spread somewhat.

Although outbreaks occur then dissipate unpredictably, the good news is that there is now a vaccine for your dog available from your veterinarian.

For more information, please visit: