April is Parasite Prevention Month and contrary to popular belief, we DO have Heartworm in our area. As people and their pets move to the Northwest, they often times bring with them pests and parasites that before, may not have survived as well in our climate.

If you venture into the Boise Foothills or along our beautiful river, you and your pets are absolutelyexposed to these harmful parasites. We recommend monthly flea and tick preventatives like Frontline or Revolution (for cats). You can give it the same day as you give Interceptor for Heartworm prevention.

Heartworm Disease develops when a dog or cat is bitten by a mosquito carrying microscopic heartworm larvae of a parasite called Dirofilaria immitis. As a mosquito feeds, these microscopic larvae are deposited on the pet and quickly penetrate the skin to begin their migration into the bloodstream.

Adult heartworms can grow 10 to 12 inches in length and make their home in the right side of the heart and the pulmonary arteries, often causing lung disease and heart failure.

Although easy to prevent, Heartworm disease continues to be a major health problem for dogs living in the United States.

While risk of infection in dogs varies from one region of the country to another and even from one community to another, one fact remains: heartworm disease is a threat to unprotected dogs in every state except Alaska. The relocation of dogs, as with humanitarian efforts following natural disasters, can introduce heartworm to non-endemic parts of the country. Alternately, unprotected dogs traveling with their owners to high incidence areas will be at risk for exposure. Since heartworm disease is a complicated illness, the best approach is prevention.

Please visit the American Heartworm Society website for more information

Remember, you will need a heartworm test to confirm that your pet is negative before giving Heartguard.

Get a FREE test when you buy 6 months of HEARTGUARD!

What are roundworms and how can they affect dogs and cats?

Roundworms are among the most common internal parasites of domestic animals. In fact, a type of roundworm called Toxocara canis infects more than 90% of puppies under 3 months of age1 and roundworm eggs can be found in 15% of all dogs2. The roundworm Toxascaris leonina is found in adult dogs.

Dogs become infected with roundworms through the placenta, nursing, or contact with feces of an infected animal. In dogs, adult roundworms live in the intestines and a large population can block the intestinal tract. Signs of roundworm infection in dogs include: diarrhea, weight loss, worms in feces, swollen abdomen, vomiting, malnutrition, weakness and lack of appetite.

What are hookworms and how can they affect dogs and cats?

Like roundworms, hookworms are internal parasites. Infections of the hookworm Ancylostoma caninumhave been shown to be present in nearly 20% of dogs1. Two other types of hookworms are also found in dogs.

Dogs become infected with hookworms by ingesting larvae in contaminated soil. The larvae can penetrate skin. Puppies can acquire infection via nursing.

Hookworms inhabit the intestine and feed on certain intestinal tissue, resulting in blood loss and inflammation. This in turn may lead to anemia, debilitation, and death, particularly in puppies.

Signs of hookworm infection in dogs include: weakness, diarrhea, pale gums, and weight loss.


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Habitat Veterinary Hospital
3082 S. Bown Way
Boise, ID 83706
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  • Phone: 208-429-1818
  • Fax: 208-429-1682
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