April Pet Holidays!

These April observances will help keep your precious pets safe and healthy

April isn’t just for celebrating Easter…we’re honoring a few other observances this month! April is all about keeping your dog or cat healthy and disease free. Organizations nationwide will be working with pet owners and pet lovers to raise awareness on three issues: heartworm prevention, pet first-aid, and Lyme disease prevention. Here’s a brief summary of the these three separate observances.

National Heartworm Awareness Month

Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms that can live in the heart, lung, and other blood vessels of dogs and cats. These worms are transmitted by mosquitoes through their bites. The worms enter a pet’s system as undeveloped larvae and then mature over 6-7 months. Once fully mature, these worms wreak havoc on a pet’s physiological systems and can be be fatal.

The early signs of heartworm disease include: cough, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss. If left undetected and untreated, heartworms can cause heart failure and fluid build-up in the abdomen. Due to their fatal nature once transmitted, the best way to protect your pets from heartworms is prevention.

At your pet’s next vet appointment, make sure that your dog or cat is is getting all the necessary heartworm prevention medication they need. For more information on this topic, visit the website for the American Heartworm Society.

National Pet First-Aid Awareness Month

Most people probably know general first-aid for humans, but many may not know first-aid for their pets. Since our pets are members of our family, it only makes sense to have a basic understanding of when and how to use first-aid for your pet. Use the month of April to brush up on what you already know, or make a commitment to learn pet first-aid. You never know when an emergency could happen.

The American Red Cross hosts classes nationwide to teach and certify owners and pet professionals on pet first-aid. They also have a mobile app for download to give you first-aid tips at your fingertips. For more information on pet-first aid, check out the American Red Cross website.

Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month

The Lyme Disease Foundation has designated April as a month for increasing awareness about Lyme Disease in dogs. Spread by ticks, Lyme disease causes many serious health problems in humans and dogs alike. Dog owners should be especially aware of the risk of tick-borne illness since dogs spend so much time running outdoors. They are easily spread by running through plants, foliage, and tall grasses.

Ticks emerge in spring and remain active throughout the summer. They also go through bursts of activity during the fall. If a tick latches onto your dog, it’s important to remove it as quickly as possible. Lyme Disease can be transmitted within 24 hours of the tick bite. Your vet can give you many pharmaceutical options for tick prevention and how to handle a tick bite. You can also learn more about signs, symptoms, and treatment of Lyme Disease at the American Lyme Disease Foundation website.

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