Heartworm Season is Back
By Mary Van Dahm
For those of us in the Northern States, it is
time to start our ferrets on heartworm medication again. (Ferret owners
in the south should keep their ferrets on a heartworm preventative all
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. As the weather warms up and mosquitoes
return, the threat of heartworms in our pets increases. Even if you don’t
take your ferrets outdoors, they can be exposed to this threat.
Because of a ferrets size, it only takes one heartworm to kill
All it takes is one small hole in a screen, or someone walking in or out
of the house and holding the door open long enough for an infected mosquito
to get in.
Heartworms use to be difficult to detect in ferrets, but now there is
a fairly accurate blood test for them (the CITE test). Because of a ferrets
size, it only takes one heartworm to kill a ferret!
Treatment for heartworms, once your ferret is infected, is risky. It is
a lot easier, and a lot less expensive, to establish a preventative program
to safeguard your ferret against heartworms in the first place! The medication
(Ivormectin) is given orally just once a month during warm weather (April
through October) and costs around $10 per ferret for the whole summer.
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about putting your
ferret on heartworm prevention. Many veterinarians have handouts that explain
the life cycle of the heartworm and how the medication works in your pet.