As pet owners, we do everything we can to keep our pets happy and healthy, even in the midst of our busy lives. Our focus on preventive care, daily exercise and play, and lots of snuggles makes it easy to overlook year-round heartworm prevention. Unfortunately, our busy schedules, along with a proliferation of false information about heartworm, have led to the steady rise of heartworm among U.S. pets over the past 5 years.
Annual screening and year-round prevention of heartworm should be essential components of your pet care plan.
Heartworm disease is caused by parasitic worms, Dirofilaria immitis, which are transmitted to pets by mosquitos. Mosquitos can pick up the parasite by feeding on an infected animal, such as a dog, cat, raccoon, coyote, or opossum.
Once inside your pet’s body, the immature worms travel throughout the bloodstream, eventually taking up residence in the heart, lungs, and accompanying blood vessels. Over a period of several months to a year, worms can grow up to a foot in length and cause pain, discomfort, and significant damage to important internal organs. Continue…