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Warmer temperatures and more mosquitoes could increase risk of heartworm disease for dogs

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Posted at 2:50 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 17:50:28-05

Living on the Central Coast means there's plenty of months of warm weather, and that can mean mosquitoes.

For a local veterinarian, that brings up concerns about heartworm disease.

"What's really put this to my attention was just last month, I had to tell a family that all three of their dogs had tested positive for heartworm," said Dr. Michael Ramos, veterinarian.

While there hasn't been a significant increase in cases, heartworm could be a deadly disease for your dog.

Dr. Ramos says it can be prevented with a chewable tablet once a month or treated with early detection.

"A lot of dogs if caught on time and have proper treatment survive, but they don't always stay the same," Dr. Ramos said.

Some dog owners on the Central Coast say they've taken the steps to make sure their pets are protected.

"She's on Heartgard for heartworm and NexGard is like the all-in-one flea-tick prevention," said Alexa McKinnon, dog owner.

McKinnon says these prevention measures cost her around $330 a year for her one-year-old terrier, Jackie.

While costly, she says it's a price she's willing to pay to make sure her dog is healthy.

"I think if you're going to get a lifelong dog, you definitely should be aware of all the expenses. So just getting her, I know that money wasn't an issue when it came to buying things for her," McKinnon said.

Dr. Ramos says if your dog hangs around water like at beaches, lakes, or if there are potted plants in your backyard, these are all places that attract mosquitoes and can increase the risk of heartworm for your pet if they aren't protected.

Dr. Ramos recommends dogs be tested for heartworm once a year or be put on prevention medicine.