Faqs About Heartworm In Pets

Here are a few frequently asked questions about heartworm along with answers.

Q: First Off: What is Heartworm?
A: Heartworm is an internal parasite- Dirofilaria immitis that can infect animals, including cats and dogs.

Q: Is Heartworm Dangerous?
A: Yes. Infection with heartworms can lead to lung disease, organ damage, heart failure and even death.

Q: How Does Heartworm Infection Occur?
A: Mosquitoes are intermediate hosts. When a mosquito carrying D. immitis bites an animal, the mosquito transmits the minuscule heartworm larvae into the animal’s bloodstream. From there, they make their way to the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels.

Q: How Big is an Adult Heartworm?
A: Adults can grow up to 30 cm in length and survive 5 to 7 years

Q: How Does the Cycle of Infection Continue?
A: First, adult heartworms living inside an infected animal mate. Then, they give live birth to larvae. These larvae enter that animal’s bloodstream. When a mosquito bites this animal, larvae are transmitted to the mosquito. This mosquito can start the cycle again by biting the next animal.

Q: What are the Signs of Heartworm Disease?
A: Signs and symptoms vary. If the infection is light, there may be no signs. Signs of heavy infection include weight loss, poor haircoat, exercise intolerance, coughing and fever. Heartworm disease can lead to severe heart, kidney, liver and lung problems and even death.

Q: Can You Test for Heartworm?
A: Yes. Your veterinarian will recommend a blood test and further testing if they think it’s necessary.

Q: Is Heartworm a Problem Year-round?
A: May/June to October/November is Heartworm season. That’s 6 MONTHS of the year, possibly longer with climate change. All dogs in Canada should receive medication for heartworm prevention, at least from June to November.

Q: What are the High-risk areas in Canada?
A: Manitoba, the Okanagan (British Columbia), southern Ontario and southern Quebec.

Q: What Should I Do to Keep My Dog Safe from Heartworm?
A: Talk to your veterinarian about the best preventative medication for your dog. It’s easier, less expensive and much less stressful to prevent heartworm disease in dogs than it is to treat it.

Q: Can Heartworm Disease be Cured?
A: Treatment is available, but can be costly. For safety reasons, it’s vital to confirm diagnosis before proceeding with treatment. During and after treatment dogs should rest and not exercise for a period of time, as directed by your veterinarian.

Q: Can Cats Become Infected with Heartworms?
A: Yes. Signs include coughing, asthma-like attacks, vomiting, lack of appetite and weight loss. Some even struggle to walk, faint or have seizures. Talk to your veterinarian about a broad-spectrum, spot-on solution that fights various worms in cats, including heartworm.

Related Articles

An Overview: Control of Feline Parasites Read Now

Keeping Your Cat Healthy Read Now

Facts About a Cat’s Heart Read Now

side_slide2
side_slide1
previous arrow
next arrow
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
error: Content is protected !!