Welcome to April which is Heartworm Awareness Month. This month we will be approaching this increasingly common disease from a variety of angles, from learning a little about the disease, to the stages of the disease, treatment, prevention, & recommendation of year round prevention.
If you want to learn more than what you find in these articles, please feel free to contact our clinic with your questions & we would be more than happy to talk more with you.
Heartworm disease is a serious & potentially fatal disease in pets across the globe. It is caused by foot long worms that live in the heart, lungs & associated blood vessels causing severe lung disease, heart failure & damage to other organs in the body.
Microfilariae are the larva form of heartworm and migrate through the bloodstream & therefore are used as a diagnostic tool when seen under the microscope.
The female worm can grow up to 14 inches long & an 1/8 inch wide. The male is about half the size of the female.
Although mainly affecting dogs, cats and ferrets, heartworms can also live in other mammals including wolves, coyotes, foxes, sea lions and in rare instances humans. Because wild species such as foxes and coyotes live in proximity to many urban areas, they are considered important carriers of the disease.
Location & Transmission
Heartworm disease is not passed dog to dog, it is instead passed from mosquito to dog. Spread of the disease therefore coincides with mosquito season, which can last year round & is also more common in warmer weather climates, such as Mississippi & Florida.
Stay tuned each Monday this month for a new article regarding Heartworm Disease, Treatment, & Prevention. I hope these articles are educational & helpful to you as a pet owner.