Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and, once mature, live in the heart and large vessels of the lungs. The adult female heartworm can measure from 25 – 31 centimeters in length. The males are a little more than half as long and their tails are spirally coiled. Heartworm disease can be fatal, but, through the use of medications, heartworm is preventable.
Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes, which pick up the larvae when they bite an infected dog, then deposit the larvae into your dog(s) when it bites them. The larvae migrate and eventually reach the chambers of the heart or the vessels or the lungs. The worms affect blood flow throughout the body, and infection can affect many different organs – heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. A dog that was once active and now tires easily, or shows shortness of breath or coughing could have heartworm disease.
Taking a small blood sample from your pet on a yearly basis allows us to check for an active Heartworm infection. Without regular testing, heartworm disease is usually only detected after the disease has progressed. Irreversible damage may have already occurred. Caught early, heartworm disease is treatable: however, the treatment is costly and has some risks associated with it.
Heartworm disease can be easily prevented with a monthly prescription.