(07/09/12) - In some southern states, weather is being blamed for a record number of heartworm cases this year.
Locally, vets are seeing an uptick in heartworm cases as well, but for another reason.
Meet Stanley and Ruppert. Two of Mary Jane Teall's 'kids'.
"They're like members of our family, so, you know, it's important for them to stay healthy," Teall said.
That's why Mary Jane brought these boxers to the Fenton Veterinary Clinic for their annual checkup.
"Both of them are on flea/tick control, right?" asked Dr. Paul Tremblay.
"Right," Teall said.
They are also on heartworm medication.
Dr. Paul Tremblay says it's a must for all dogs, but some pets go unprotected.
He's seen a few more cases this year compared to last.
"People are being relaxed about giving their dog the heartworm preventative," Tremblay said.
Some vets blame the economy.
In other parts of the country, heartworm cases are on the rise because of an increase in disease-carrying mosquitoes, thanks to a mild winter followed by a wet spring and hot summer.
Wherever you live, this vet believes in one simple philosophy. "An ounce of prevention, a pound of cure is very much true," he said.
For an average-size dog, about $100 a year covers heartworm medication.
Treating man's best friend after an infection sets in would cost at least 10 times that amount.
Dr. Tremblay says a dog likely wouldn't be in pain if infected, but might show some signs of slowing down as the valve in their heart clogs.
Others tough it out.
"Dogs can be quite asymptomatic, and sometimes acute death is the first thing you see," Tremblay said.
Mary Jane is doing everything she can to prevent that from happening to these beloved family members.
(Mary Jane Teall)-"They're on their heartworm medicine that they get every month so, and we just watch them too. If they're, they have any extra symptoms," Teall said.
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