Animal Resource Library » Health & Safety » Heartworms, Mosquitoes, and Ticks

Heartworms, Mosquitoes, and Ticks

In addition to worrying about fleas this summer, you also have to worry about these pesky varmints. However, these pests are more than just nuisances; they pose serious health risks to humans, as well as dogs and cats.

Ticks are an ectoparasite, which means they live on the outside of your pet. Ticks can transmit potentially life-threatening illnesses to your pets, therefore prevention is always better than treating after-the-fact.


  • Ticks can transmit many deadly diseases to your pet and family including lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever and erlichiosis.
  • A female tick can produce up to 20,000 eggs. That’s roughly 10 times as many as a flea!.
  • Ticks secrete a cement-like substance to help them stay attached..
  • The longer a tick feeds the greater the risk it will infect its host with a disease..
  • A tick will drink up to 100 times its body weight in blood in a single feeding..
  • In severe cases of tick infestation, pets become seriously ill and may even die from blood loss..
  • There are over 80 species of ticks in the United States alone..
  • Removing a tick within 12 to 24 hours after it has begun feeding will reduce the chance of it passing on an infectious disease.

Mosquitoes are not parasites, but they too can cause devastating health problems. With just one bite, they can cause heartworm disease, a potentially deadly condition, in both dogs and cats. Heartworm is a blood parasite that is transmitted to dogs and cats after they have been bitten by mosquitoes that are carrying the disease. And, just as with lyme disease, it is completely preventable.


  • Heartworm disease is 100% preventable.
  • Some heartworms can grow to be 14 inches long inside your pet’s heart and lungs.
  • Infected dogs usually have 10 to 30 heartworms at one time; infected cats usually have less than six.
  • Just one heartworm can cause serious problems in cats.
  • Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states.
  • One heartworm can live seven years in a dog.

How do you protect your pets from heartworms, mosquitoes and ticks this summer?
Make an appointment with your vet to discuss which of the numerous products available is right for your situation.


Your vet may prescribe a monthly tablet that prevents heartworm disease. Prior to using treatments that prevent or treat heartworm, your vet will test your pet for heartworm disease. Monthly tablets usually prevent multiple types of infestation (fleas, adult hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and/or heartworms).

Topical treatment are applied once a month to control ticks, fleas and/or mosquitoes in dogs and cats. Ask your vet which type of topical treatment is best suited for your pet.
Please note, articles in the Animal Resource Library are for reference only, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any medical or behavioral issues your pet may be experiencing.