Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition of worms residing in the heart and major blood vessels of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and humans. Heartworm disease is present on every continent except Antarctica.
Here are some other important facts:
Heartworms are found THROUGHOUT the United States and Canada Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. After ingesting blood from and infected dog, the MICROFILARIA (immature heartworms) are transmitted to another dog or cat when it is bitten by the mosquito.
Heartworms occur in ALL breeds of dogs: both large and small, short-haired and long-haired, inside-dogs and outside-dogs. Heartworms also now are known to infect cats.
It takes 3 to 6 months for adult Heartworms to develop in a dog after it is bitten by an infected mosquito.
Adult Heartworms live in the right side of the heart. They are 7-12 inches long. Several to a large number of worms may be present! Heartworms impair blood circulation, resulting in damage to the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys. Serious damage may occur, even before outward clinical signs are detected by the owner.
Advanced signs include difficult breathing, coughing, tiring easily, listlessness, loss of weight, and fainting.
HEARTWORMS CAN BE PREVENTED!!!! We strongly recommend the once/month heartworm preventives which also aid in the prevention of other internal parasites. It should be given ALL YEAR LONG to avoid lapses in complete coverage
Routine testing by a special blood test detects heartworm antigens (proteins) in the blood. Testing for Heartworms once each year is suggested for ALL dogs! The earlier the detection, the more successful treatment can be administered, and the less chance of serious side effects of the disease.
Treatment IS highly SUCCESSFUL when the disease is detected early. The adult worms are killed with an injectable drug given in a series. A few days later, the worms begin to die, and are carried by way of the bloodstream to the lungs where they lodge in small blood vessels. They slowly decompose and are absorbed by the body over a period of several months. Other injections may be required to kill the microfilaria (immature heartworms) at a later time.