Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days.
Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately six months for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms.
Heartworm disease is a year round problem in this area, there are 22 species of mosquitos in the U.S. that carry heartworms. Heartworm disease affects dogs and cats including pets that are kept indoors.
Please believe me when I tell you that Heartworm Disease is not something you want your pet to catch. But don’t just take our word for it.
According to the American Heartworm Society…
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. It is caused by foot-long worms (heartworms) that live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of affected pets, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and damage to other organs in the body.
Depending on the stage of the disease, Heartworm treatment for dogs is usually expensive, lengthy and stressful. There is no approved heartworm treatment for cats.
There are very effective Heartworm Preventatives available for both dogs and cats. Before pets can be prescribed a heartworm preventative they must be tested to see if they are already infected.
The reason pets need to be tested first is because giving preventives to infected pets can cause an adverse reaction that can even be fatal. Even if your pet does not have a reaction, heartworm preventives do not kill the adult heartworms which means an infected pet will remain infected.
Again, don’t just take my word for it. The American Heartworm Society recommends that you “think 12:” (1) get your pet tested every 12 months for heartworm and (2) give your pet heartworm preventive 12 months a year.
If your pet is not currently taking a monthly heartworm preventative it is critically important that you get him/her tested are soon as possible.
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