Heartworms…A Problem Even in the Winter While most geographical areas enjoy a break from mosquitos, southern climates are still held captive by this buzzing nemesis- even in winter. Mosquitos carry the parasites that cause heartworms, a potentially fatal and expensive to treat infestation. For this reason, it is recommended for pets to remain on heartworm preventatives year-round.

Fleas, Ticks and Taxes  Fleas are resilient and persistent pests during our mild southern winters. Southern states tend to have issues with fleas year-round. Only sustained cold temperatures (30 degrees or less) and sustained low humidity is enough to kill flea eggs, larvae, and adult fleas. April is notoriously known as “tax season”, but we can add one more enemy to the month- it’s “tick season”! It is generally around this time that we begin to see pesky ticks. These parasites infect dogs, cats, and people. Their bites are dangerous because they can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis. Remember to use heartworm and flea prevention year-round, and tick prevention especially during this time of year. There are tick preventatives that are as simple as giving your dog a medicated treat once a month.

The “Extra” Winter 10-Not Just for Humans Anymore  When it gets cold and wet outside, people tend to stay indoors, thus walking and playing with their pets less. It is important to continue a regular exercise routine for pets to prevent weight gain and stiffness. If getting out in the cold isn’t your idea of fun, try enrolling your dog in a Doggy Daycare program. If activity levels drop during the holiday season, remember to cut back on your pet’s treats. Plus, minimize table scraps- bones, fat, salt, and sweets are not good for our furry friends! Stick with apples, green beans, and carrots instead.

Jessica Loch, DVM graduated from Auburn University in 2007 and is a newcomer from Peachtree, GA, where she practiced small animal medicine from 2007-2014. Originally from Lincoln, AL, she grew up on a cattle and chicken farm, and had a pet calf, goat, chicken, and, of course, dogs and cats. She has a special interest in complicated veterinary dentistry cases. Her hobbies include playing the mountain dulcimer, playing racquetball, and traveling to Scotland.