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Heartworm Prevention in AZ?

I have been a vet now for 20 years and have lived in the Valley for 13 years.  We moved here to be close to family and enjoy the Arizona desert lifestyle.  One of those desert perks was being able to be outside without the bugs.  No Mosquitoes, few flies, just pleasant.  One of the other things I noticed coming from Texas to Arizona was the fact that Heart worm disease was almost non-existent.  In Texas all pets needed Preventive Heartworm medications otherwise it was a matter of time before they got the debilitating Heartworm Disease.  Heartworms are a real worm about 6-12 inches long living inside your dogs heart.  Ewww….Sick!  Heartworms cause severe damage to your pet if untreated and the treatment for the disease can run thousands of dollars.  In Arizona, the lack of Mosquitoes meant the lack of Heartworm disease and lack of awareness about the disease.  Prevention is easy many pet owners have not been using prevention and veterinarians in Arizona have not been making a strong recommendation to put pets on Heartworm prevention…..including me.  My approach has changed.  The facts have changed.  The last few years we have learned and confirmed more Heartworm cases that originate in Arizona.  We are seeing and feeling the bites of mosquitoes more often.   Our practice has confirmed several cases in just 5 months.  Research on our indigenous population of coyotes reveal 15% are positive carriers for Heartworm.  Heartworm Prevention is simple and 20-30 times less expensive that treatment.  Start protecting your pet for Heartworm disease.  Have fun.  Be Safe.  Until next time Brett the Vet and the friendly team at Arizona Animal Hospital.

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