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What is Heartworm

imageHeartworm is a parasitic disease that can affect any dog regardless of age, sex or habitat.  Spread by mosquitoes, it is found in virtually all parts of the United States and many parts of Canada.

Heartworms live in the blood of a dog’s heart and adjacent blood vessels, grow from four to twelve inches in length, reach maturation one year after infection and live for five to seven years.  Adult heartworms living in the heart produce offspring, known as microfilariae, which circulate in the animal’s blood.  When a female mosquito bites an infected animal, it sucks out the blood containing the microfilariae.  When the mosquito bites another pet, the infected larvae are transmitted and the cycle begins again.

Symptoms & Testing

Canine Heartworm symptoms include

  1. Difficulty Breathing
  2. Coughing
  3. Fatigue
  4. Listlessness
  5. Weight loss and
  6. Rough hair coat

The Veterinarian can perform a simple blood test that can verify the presence of heartworms.

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