by Esperanza Zuniga, RedRover Relief Program Manager
The saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” For my team of RedRover Relief Urgent Care case managers, the saying couldn’t be more true. Each year, our RedRover Relief urgent Care program receives hundreds of applications from concerned pet owners whose pets have been diagnosed with a preventable disease. The treatment required to save their pet’s life is usually urgent, risky and very expensive.
Following through on preventive care for our pets means we can feel confident that we’re giving our fur children the best chance for long, happy lives. Parasites are most active in the springtime, and their affect on our pets can be irritating, or downright deadly. For example, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes can spread diseases.
Mosquitoes can pass along deadly heartworm disease, which can cost upwards of $1,000 to treat, but only about $7 per month to prevent.
Ticks are known carriers of Lyme disease and multiple ticks can cause anemia in pets. Fleas can transmit tapeworms which can be costly to treat. If your pet has an allergy to fleas (Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or FAD), they can develop hot spots and require follow-up skin treatment. Both fleas and ticks can be prevented with monthly, over-the-counter topical treatments like Advantage, Frontline or any other treatment that your veterinarian recommends, and heartworm can be prevented with a monthly chewable or pill. In my own experience, I know that preventive care is worth it.
I used to think my pets would never get heartworm. To save on the costs of caring for my dogs when money was tight, I would guiltily skip giving them their monthly heartworm pills during months when mosquitoes were less prevalent.
Sadly, my dog contracted heartworm at the age of 8. She survived the costly, risky treatment and lived to the age of 14, but I had learned my lesson; I knew that any dog could be infected, so now I keep all my dogs on a $7 per month heartworm preventative. Many urgent care situations can be avoided by providing your pet with affordable parasite protection, to prevent diseases such as heartworm.
Having trouble giving heartworm pills to your pet? Here’s one last tip from Max, the mastiff…
“When I got sick, my mom had a hard time giving me my pills. I spit them out every time, and my mom even called me a “big baby!” She tried everything, and finally asked the people at RedRover how she could get me to take my medicine. They told her to hide the pills in peanut butter, and I loved it! Now I take my pills like a champ (in the yummy peanut butter, of course) and my mom even told RedRover, “Thank you so much for the peanut butter advice for the pills for Max. It worked like a charm!”