Autumn is now in full swing, with winter not far behind it. I finally had to wear a sweater to work this morning for the first time all season. Pumpkin coffee is being brewed, pumpkin pie is now available in grocery stores, and Christmas decorations (!) are already being sold. The lobby at Woodland Veterinary Hospital is festively autumnal.

With the colder weather may come the temptation to stop giving monthly parasite control (heartworm and flea +/- tick prevention) to your pets. They may not be outside as much, and you may perceive that the risk of parasites is lower. And you may be right—the risk may be lower. However, even a possibly lower risk is not the same as zero risk. As a case in point, I saw a dog yesterday with fleas (to the point of hair loss and skin infection), and I saw a kitten this morning with fleas. I have been bitten by mosquitoes in the winter time before, and mosquitoes can transmit heartworm. Parasites are out there, even with the colder weather.

If you have parasite control medication at home, please continue to use it. If you do not, you can stop by Woodland Veterinary Hospital to pick some up. Dogs that have lapsed on heartworm control will need a blood test for heartworms before starting heartworm prevention medications. And if your dog or cat has never been on parasite control, make an appointment today to talk with one of our veterinarians about the options available.

-Keith Rode, DVM

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