Heartworm Disease

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets.

How It Is Spread

Dogs and cats get heartworms through the bite of an infected mosquito. The dog is the definitive host, meaning that the worms mature into adults, mate and produce offspring while living inside a dog. The mosquito is the intermediate host, meaning that the worms live inside a mosquito for a short transition period in order to become infective. The worms are called “heartworms” because the adults live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels of an infected animal.

Prevention

It is recommended that heartworm preventative is given year round because heartworms are very common in this area. If you pet is not or has not been on heartworm medication, then it is recommended your pet is tested for heartworms before beginning the preventative. Dogs six months of age or younger can start heartworm medication without being tested because it takes six months for an adult heartworm to develop once bitten. It is recommended to have your pet checked for heartworms every one to two years to ensure your preventative is working.

There are numerous heartworm preventatives on the market. You should consult with your veterinarian when choosing the correct preventative for your pet!

More Information

Read more information about heartworms on the American Heartworm Society website.