Could Your Senior Dog have Heart Worm?

dreamstime_xl_59605191All across America, vets begin testing dogs (and cats) for heart worm in April, which is why April is National Heart Worm Awareness Month. It used to be that heart worm was only prevalent in certain parts of the country. Unfortunately, it has now been detected in all 50 states, with the disease spreading to new regions of the country every year. For instance, after Hurricane Katrina, 250,000 pets with heart worm were sent across the country to be adopted.

What is Heart Worm?
Heart worm is a disease caused by foot-long worms (heart worms) that live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of affected pets, potentially causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body. It can not only affect dogs and cats, but wolves, coyotes, ferrets and foxes as well. Heart worms live inside a dog, mature and mate, potentially causing several hundred heart worms in a dog.

How is Heart Worm Transmitted?
Heart worm is transmitted through infected mosquitoes. Once a pet is bitten it can take up to 6 months for the heart worms to grow. Heart worms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Fortunately, humans can’t get heart worm from their pets. Continue reading

How Senior Pets Can Help Senior Citizens

dreamstime_xl_47904587When my Mom passed away, there is no doubt my Dad was depressed. Sure, he stilled played poker once a week with his friends and went fishing when the weather was nice. He kept up many of his routines, like going to breakfast once/week. However, my Mom was really the “social” life of the family and my Dad was not comfortable calling people up to come over for dinner … he can burn macaroni and cheese!

That’s when I came up with the great idea to buy him a dog. Now I know they say not to buy dogs as presents, but I know my Dad well.  Really well. I knew a big dog would be unmanageable for him. Same with a puppy. After much research and a visit to the local shelter, I decided on a 6-year-old Maltese named Max.

A senior dog for my senior Dad. Perfect.

Continue reading