My Achy Breaky Heartworm

Post written by Taylor Orndorf

What are heartworms and how do our pets get them?

Click picture to enlarge.

Click picture to enlarge.

Heartworm disease is a disease transmitted by mosquitos. Female heartworms living in an infected animal such as a cat or dog produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria, these worms circulate in the bloodstream. Once a mosquito bites and takes blood from the infected animal, the baby worms then mature into a larvae stage within two weeks. The mosquito then bites and drops off the newly formed larvae onto the surface of the animal’s skin and they enter through the mosquito bite wound. It takes about six months for the larvae to develop into adult heartworms, and the typical lifespan is five to seven years in dogs and two to three years in cats.

How do I tell if my pet has heartworms?

This can be done by bringing your furry friend to us for a quick and simple blood test! This simple blood test is done here in the hospital, and within about 15 minutes we will have results. Here at VCF, we recommend having a heartworm test done every 6 months even if your pet is on prevention.


How can I prevent my pet from getting heartworms?


Luckily, it is fairly easy to prevent heartworms from harming our beloved pets. Giving your pet a monthly heartworm preventative is the easiest way to fight this disease. Prevention is much simpler than treatment. Here are some quick tips on keeping heartworms away:
  • Give your pet a monthly heartworm preventative.
  • Have your pet tested for heartworms annually even when on prevention to make sure your prevention is working.
¬†Heartworm preventatives fights the disease by attacking and destroying the larvae inside infected animals’ bloodstream. It’s important to keep all of the furry family members in the home on a heart worm preventative to keep them healthy, happy, and free of heartworms! This month, VCF will be running a special for $10 off of your heartworm test! We also have several rebates and promotions for monthly heartworm and flea preventatives! If you have any questions about whether or not your pet is on prevention or is up to date on a heartworm test, call VCF at (813)681-9080 to set up a heartworm test and purchase prevention!