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Heartworms and Prevention

Heartworm is a preventable, but severe and potentially fatal, parasite that infects dogs.

How is a heartworm transmitted, and what does it cause?

Heartworms can only be transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes.  When a mosquito bites an infected animal, young heartworms enter that mosquito’s system. Within two weeks, they develop inside the mosquito; these infective larvae can be transmitted to another animal when this mosquito takes its next blood meal.

The larvae mature into adult heartworms in approximately six months. During the first three months, the larvae migrate through the animal’s body, eventually reaching the lungs’ blood vessels. During the last three months, the immature worms continue to develop and grow into adults, with females growing to lengths of up to 14 inches. The worms damage the blood vessels, and reduce the heart’s pumping ability, resulting in severe lung and heart disease.

Can heartworm disease be prevented?

Yes! Heartworm infection is almost 100% preventable in dogs and cats. There are several heartworm preventives available in a variety of formulations. We can recommend the best method of prevention based on your pet’s risk factors and lifestyle.

Call us today to make an appointment for your pet 903-561-3211 to start their heartworm prevention.

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April 5, 2023

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