Myth: My small dog and/or cat are indoor only in Florida, never go outdoors, so they are not at risk for heartworm disease and there is no need for them to be on monthly heartworm prevention.
Fact: The mosquito vector that carries the infectious stage of the heartworm parasite is present year-round in tropical areas like Florida. Mosquitos can certainly fly inside homes and apartments and can reproduce in even tiny amounts of standing water, even in lanais/screened in porches and decks.
Even if your dog or cat does not spend the whole year in Florida, once-yearly heartworm tests with your pet’s primary care veterinarian are recommended. Once a dog or cat tests positive, the treatment for active heartworm infection and disease, treatment for heartworm can be costly, life-threatening and may have life-long sequelae.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” administering heartworm prevention monthly to your dog and cat and minimizing standing water in the area of your home will save both you and your pet a lot of ‘heart’- ache in the future.
Please contact your pet’s primary care veterinarian to discuss heartworm testing and heartworm prevention options. You can also visit http://www.capcvet.org/capc-recommendations/canine-heartworm/ for more information.
Dr. Jessica Diaz