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Can heartworms be prevented naturally?

Many pet owners want "natural" solutions to heartworm prevention and treatment in their pets. The American Heartworm Society provides the facts.

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Can heartworms be prevented naturally?

  1. 1. Are There “Natural” Ways to Prevent Heartworms? photo
  2. 2. Non-pharmaceutical health remedies go by many names, from alternative to holistic to natural. And their appeal is understandable.
  3. 3. Pet owners value both the safety and the health of their pets, and often see “natural” health-care products as delivering on both.
  4. 4. There are more than a few myths floating around about natural approaches to heartworm prevention. So it’s important to understand exactly how heartworms are spread.
  5. 5. Heartworm disease is spread by infected mosquitoes. So mosquito control is an important aspect of reducing heartworm transmission.
  6. 6. Common-sense steps like keeping pets indoors during hours when mosquitoes are active and removing sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed can help reduce transmission.
  7. 7. Using natural mosquito repellents can also play a role in heartworm management.
  8. 8. However, these “natural” approaches to mosquito control by themselves cannot ensure pets are protected from heartworms.
  9. 9. Ensuring that a pet is never bitten by a mosquito is virtually impossible. Dogs need exercise, and most go outdoors for walks and bathroom breaks.
  10. 10. Meanwhile, indoor cats aren’t completely shielded either, since 1 in 4 cats infected are known to be indoor cats.
  11. 11. That’s why the American Heartworm Society recommends year-round use of FDA- approved heartworm preventives in dogs, cats and ferrets.
  12. 12. These preventives are actually formulated with naturally occurring compounds generated by fermenting a type of bacteria found in soil.
  13. 13. Pet owners can choose from chewable pills, spot-on preventives and—for dogs— injections administered in the veterinary office.
  14. 14. Meanwhile, dogs that require treatment for heartworms must be treated by a veterinarian with a veterinary- approved medication.
  15. 15. There are many natural ways to protect your pet’s health—feeding a healthy diet, providing daily exercise and ensuring regular veterinary check-ups.
  16. 16. It’s natural to to want what’s best for your pet’s health. Just remember: there’s no substitute for year-round heartworm prevention.
  17. 17. Think 12! • Protect your pets from heartworm 12 months a year. • Test your pet for heartworm every 12 months.

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