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Miss. faces high risk for parasitic infections, non-profit says

Hinds Co. faces high risk for heartworm in pets, non-profit says
Hinds Co. faces high risk for heartworm in pets, non-profit says(MGN)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 12:14 PM CDT
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HINDS CO., Miss. (WLBT) - A non-profit that raises awareness about the threat of parasites in pets forecasts a high risk for heartworm disease in Mississippi and several other states along the Gulf Coast this summer.

Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) says the Magnolia State faces a high threat level in May and June due to the warm weather and humidity on the rise.

“Spring weather creates ideal breeding conditions for mosquitos, which can transmit heartworm larvae to pets,” the non-profit said. “Heartworms are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and can affect both dogs and cats, although the disease acts a bit differently in each. It only takes a single mosquito bite for a pet to become infected.”

Heartworm disease is most common along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from the Gulf of Mexico to New Jersey and along the Mississippi River.

If a dog is infected, heartworms can affect many organs including the heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the best treatment is prevention.

Many products are FDA-approved to prevent heartworms in dogs, but all of them require a veterinarian’s prescription.

Most products are given monthly, either as a topical liquid applied to the skin or as an oral tablet.

Both chewable and non-chewable oral tablets are available.

One product is injected under the skin every 6 or 12 months, and only a veterinarian can give the injection.

Some heartworm preventives contain other ingredients that are effective against certain intestinal worms (such as roundworms and hookworms) and other parasites (such as fleas, ticks, and ear mites).

You’re encouraged to talk to your nearest vet to decide what’s best for your pet.

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