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Heartworm Disease and Your Pets

Updated on May 17, 2016

Dogs are Natural Hosts for Heartworms

ganaguehago  CCO Public Domain
ganaguehago CCO Public Domain | Source

The dog is considered a natural host for heartworms. Heartworms breed and produce baby heartworms in the dog. If the dog is left untreated he can have several hundred heartworms and they will cause damage to the lungs, heart and arteries. This damage will still be there after the heartworms are gone. If the dog survives his quality of life will be very poor at best.

Dogs can be infected with heartworms for many years before they will show any symptoms of the disease. The first signs are usually a cough, not wanting to exercise, loss of appetite, getting tired easily and weight loss.

Cat get Heartworm Disease

IgerShuban  CCO Public Domain
IgerShuban CCO Public Domain | Source

Cats can have heartworm disease, but it will be very different from dog heartworm disease. Most heartworms that a cat will get do not live to become adults. If a cat has adult heartworms, there will only be 1 or 2 and sometimes 3. Sometimes heartworms disease in cats is never diagnosed. Juvenile heartworms will still cause problems such as respiratory diseases. The treatment for heartworms in dogs cannot be used on cats.

Mosquitoes Carry Heartworm Disease

Mosquito getting ready to have lunch
Mosquito getting ready to have lunch | Source

When female adult heartworms live in a suitable mammal they produce babies that are microscopic in size These little heartworms float around in the animal's bloodstream and a mosquito will come along and bite the infected animal to get blood and it will also get some of the baby heartworms. The baby heartworm will develop into a larvae stage in 10 to 14 days in the mosquito and when the mosquito bites another animal the heartworm larvae will get on the animal's skin and enter the animal's body through the mosquito bite. The larvae will become adult heartworms in about 6 months. Adult heartworms usually live 5 to 7 years in dogs and 2 to 3 years in cats. Testing Heartworm Disease

Testing for Heartworm Disease

Testing for Heartworms
Testing for Heartworms | Source

There are medications to help keep pets from getting heartworms. Heartworms will kill your pet if they are not treated. Prevention of heartworms is the best way. to keep your pet healthy and happy. If you start your pet on a prevention medication, it must be given every day. Your pet will need to be tested for heartworms every year.


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    • norlawrence profile image

      Norma Lawrence 2 years ago from California

      It is great. I wish there was more that could be done for them. Thanks for your comment.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is great that they have heartworm preventative medications for our beloved pets to take to help prevent this disease.