Health officials offer advice to pet owners over new statistics on heartworms

ROCKFORD (WREX) — Animal health experts are offering advice to Stateline pet owners after a recent parasitic pet disease study.

A new study by The Companion Animal Parasite Council has ranked Rockford as the second highest percentage increase in positive heartworm test results.

Heartworm is a common parasite found in cats and dogs, but catching them too late can lead to lung disease, heart failure, and death. The parasite is spread by infected mosquitoes injecting a larva stage worm into the animal upon biting. Worms often grow without any clear signs or symptoms, but regular visits to your pet’s veterinarian can aid in prevention.

“A screening is imperative to catching early detection,” says Alicia Guarino-Hrebik, co-owner of Animal Clinics of Rockford. “That’s a great difference in survival rates. We do recommend annual blood testing to make sure that we don’t have the heartworm parasite in the animal.”

Animal health officials say there are many products that can assist in the prevention of this disease, but there is one caution all should take to heart. It is important to remember that  insect repellent made for human use should never be used on animals. Using these repellents can cause the animal to lick and ingest dangerous, poisonous insecticides.

Always contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

Breane Lyga

Breane Lyga

Content Manager

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