Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes. When a dog already infected with heartworm is bitten, the mosquito takes up the immature worms (microfilariae), as well as blood. The worms grow into infective larvae and are transmitted to other dogs by the infective mosquito. The larvae develop within tissues and begin migration to the heart. Once inside the dog’s heart the worms grow and can cause significant damage to the heart & lungs. If left untreated, heartworm disease can result in death and physical signs of heartworm disease do not become apparent until the disease is already advanced.
You can prevent heartworm disease by simple, routine blood testing and preventive medications that are recommended during the mosquito season (from spring to fall). Remember if you travel south during the winter, your dog may need to be on heartworm prevention year round.
Please contact our office for further information on heartworm disease, or refer the heartworm information found in the Pet Health section of our website.