April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, but heartworm disease is something you will hear us educating our clients on year-round. Why? Let’s look at some stats. The Companion Animal Parasite Council gathers test information from veterinarians across the U.S. to determine the rate of infection. The current infection rate in Butte County is 1 in 63 dogs tested compared to a statewide average of 1 in 303. Surrounding counties have an even worse rate of infection; Tehama county is 1 in 40, Plumas county is 1 in 14, and Shasta county is 1 in 50.
Why is Heartworm Disease a big deal? Heartworm disease affects the heart, lungs and pulmonary blood vessels of pets putting immense strain on their cardiovascular system. This can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage and ultimately death if left untreated. What’s more- unlike intestinal parasites that show up in the feces of our pets and are fairly easy to detect, you will never see that your pet has heartworms as they only live in the blood vessels before maturing and moving into the heart and lungs.
The only way to be sure your pet is not infected is by a simple blood test. While heartworm is more common in dogs, cats are at risk of contracting heartworms as well. The best offense is a good defense when it comes to preventing heartworm infections. Monthly heartworm prevention should be given for the life of your pet. We recommend that your pet starts on monthly heartworm prevention by the time they are 6 months old and having them heartworm tested routinely. Routine testing and monitoring are important- even if they are on heartworm prevention because prevention (just like preventatives available in human medicine) are not 100% effective.
The earlier the infection is caught- the easier it is to treat! Prevention options are available for as little as $6 a month in comparison to the high cost of treating an infection- even at our low-cost clinic. In the unfortunate event that your dog is infected with heartworm, treatment is available, and while the treatment is invasive and costly, recovery outcomes are fairly good but do depend heavily on the age of your dog and how severe the infection is at the time of treatment. There are currently no approved treatments for cats, but supportive care can help manage complications. The Butte Humane Society Clinic is committed to keeping our clients informed and educated to best protect their pets. Has it been over a year since your pet’s last heartworm test? Are they current on heartworm prevention? Talk to your vet about heartworm prevention today!
By BHS Adopter Doug Alexander
I wasn’t really looking for a dog. One evening, on a lark, I accessed the Butte Humane Society website and perused the dogs available for adoption … and there he was!
The next morning, I again checked the website and he was gone ☹️. I contacted BHS and was told they had so many inquiries they decided to remove his pic until he was ready for adoption. I filled out an application and pretty much forgot about it.
Two weeks later BHS contacted me to ask if I was still interested. I made an appointment to meet “Odie” and knew he was the right size and a perfect match for me! Stopped by Tractor Supply to pick up some food and a harness and headed home to introduce “Odie” to his new environs.
After a trip to the groomer for a bath and trim, three weeks later he and I loaded up my travel trailer and headed to Baja for a monthlong, beach camping vacation. He was in “doggie heaven”! Most of my Baja friends have dogs and, besides being the “new kid on the block”, he instantly socialized with all his new pals.
When we returned home we were greeted with snow! Needless to say, he was quite surprised to have entered the truck for the trip home with 80-degree temperatures and exited the truck upon arrival home to temps in the 30’s!
I did decide to keep the name he was given at the shelter. In fact, it was rather apropos. The Baja beach where I winter is called El Coyote. So, I just changed it a bit to El “Coy-Odie”! All in all, he has been a terrific companion and a wonderful addition to my life. Thank you, BHS for rescuing this little guy!!
Warmer weather is here and spring is just around the corner! With so many pet owners wanting to take advantage of the wonderful weather, now is the perfect time to prepare your pets for spending extra time outdoors! One of the biggest complaints we hear from pet owners as the weather starts to warm up is: the fleas are back! We recommend keeping your pet on a year-round flea preventative which helps prevent fleas from ever entering your home. Did you know that flea eggs can hatch up to 6 months after they are laid?
it’s important to make sure your pet is up to date on their flea prevention as warm weather makes them more susceptible to becoming a host for those pesky bugs. Don’t forget about ticks! These little pests are common; latching on to your pet as soon as they have a chance- they also carry Lyme disease. Luckily we have both tick prevention and Lyme vaccines to help protect your pet. Warmer weather also often equals more trips to parks or other pet-friendly venues for dogs. Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccines before allowing them to visit areas frequented by other animals helps give them the best chance of being protected from catching a virus from a “carrier” or another sick animal.
Not sure what treatments or vaccines are best for your pet based on your lifestyle? Has it been longer than a year since your pet’s last check-up with a veterinarian? Vet care for your furry family member isn’t one size fits all, contact our clinic for information on the best options for your pet! (530) 343-7917 ext. 202.
Alison Turner has only been volunteering with us for 3 months, but in that time she has logged over 130 hours of time spent walking and playing with our dogs! Alison is such a blessing to Butte Humane Society, she’s amazing with our dogs and takes the most incredible photos and videos of them in action. These photos and videos have proven invaluable in showcasing the vibrant and unique personality of each dog in our care, helping them reach a larger audience and find their forever homes! Here are some of Alison’s own words on what volunteering means to her.
- Why did you get involved with volunteering at BHS?
I always wanted to volunteer but assumed it would be too sad and hard to see. The truth is, volunteering has brought so much to my life and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Seeing the smiles on the dogs’ faces when I arrive and throughout the day is what brings me back. If too many days pass without seeing the dogs, or if I go on vacation, I find myself missing them and looking forward to the day I get to see them again. It has truly brought purpose to my life.
- What has been your most impactful moment volunteering here?
There have been a few emotional moments seeing dogs go, but the dog who has made the most impact on my life is Buddy, the first dog I took on an overnight and adopted a few days later. He has already brought so much joy to my life in the few short months he’s been in it.
- What has been your favorite thing about photographing/documenting shelter dogs?
My favorite thing about photographing the dogs is the challenge of getting their personality to shine through in an image. Before the camera comes out, my number one favorite thing is walking and playing with the dogs. Just being around them puts a smile on my face. When I’m taking video in the play yard, I look forward to running around with them and seeing them smile. Watching happiness unfold on their faces is what I love the most. I look forward to editing the videos because I get to revisit our time in the yard and if I’m feeling down, away from the shelter, or miss the pups… I can always go back and watch them play. I hope that these videos will highlight their personality outside of the kennel so people can get a glimpse of what they’re like before they arrive. More importantly, the videos and images can be shared on social media to get more eyes on the dogs and ultimately, find them forever homes.
You can keep up with Alison’s adventures to shelters across the nation by following @ontheroadtorescue on Instagram, where Alison features a new shelter dog each day!