CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) – With the summer heat upon us, local veterinarians and animal rescue groups are pushing heartworm awareness and prevention tips.

Mosquitoes are more prevalent during this time of year. Six years ago, Segar was on the euthanasia list because of heartworms.

“Not well cared for, clearly living outside all the time and that’s how he developed the heartworm disease and wasn’t getting medical care at all,” said her owner Amanda Audia.

Audia rescued Segar from a shelter and took a chance on him.

“I knew that his heartworm disease would be a really long treatment for him and really hard,” she said.

Segar underwent painful injections once a month, for six months to treat his heartworms. Heartworms are preventable, it’s something that’s common during the summer.

“Heartworms are actually transmitted by mosquitoes, so in Florida, you know we get a lot more mosquitoes in the summer, so we do see an increase in the number of cases of heartworms that come into our shelter over the summer,” Humane Society of Pinellas Ex. Dir. Stacey Hannouche said.

Humane Society is hoping to get the word out – protect your pets before it’s too late.

“We offer heartworm testing and a very affordable exam because heartworm prevention is actually a prescription. Through our clinic, we can offer that test, make sure your pet is safe and then monthly heartworm prevention starts as low as seven dollars a month,” Twila Cole, Dir. Of Development said.

And it’s worth every cent to Amanda and Segar.

“He’s been on prevention ever since and now he’s 9 years old. Doesn’t have any symptoms from it. It’s all cleared up and he’s a happy and healthy guy,” she said.

Veterinarians also suggest try keeping your animals inside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are more prevalent.