1. Mature heartworm parasites live in the heart and large vessels near the heart and lungs. Signs of infection include a cough, difficulty breathing, or sudden collapse and death. Cats can also get heartworm disease and often a single worm can be fatal. An infected pet's lungs may develop large nodules due to inflammation caused by the parasite.
2. The adult worms produce microscope larvae called microfilariae that travel in the animal's blood vessels. Mosquitos that feed on the pet ingest these microfilariae and transfer them to other animals. This means one infected pet can potentially pose a risk to many other animals.
3. When a mosquito carrying the microfilariae bites a dog or cat, the parasite can be transmitted. The greater the exposure to mosquitos the more at risk a pet is, but there have been numerous documented cases of indoor-only pets acquiring heartworm disease.
4. As the microfilariae mature, they travel to the heart where we see inflammation and the signs of heartworm disease.
Call our clinic to schedule your annual heartworm test and get started on prevention today!