Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States and many other parts of the world. The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria 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, the larvae mature into adult heartworms.
Heartworm disease is much easier to prevent than to treat! The American Heartworm Society recommends testing pets every 12 months for heartworm and giving your pet a heartworm preventive 12 months a year. Visit www.heartwormsociety.org for more information.
Call us today to learn how to protect your pet from this life-threatening disease!