What are heartworms and how do our pets get them?
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.
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.
- 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.