Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis)
is a fairly large worm, up to 14 inches long, that in adulthood, lives
in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected dog. Dogs acquire
this infection through mosquito bites as mosquitoes readily pick up
larval heartworms from infected dogs and carry them to new dogs. Some
geographic areas have severe heartworm problems while other areas
have virtually none, however heartworm has been reported in all the
Every dog that is not on heartworm preventative is at risk for
Prevention of heartworms is easy! We recommend giving heartworm
preventative to dogs once a month, year round permanently.
Protect your dog against heartworms, roundworms and hookworms.
Please note that Tri-Heart Plus is only guaranteed when purchased
from a licensed veterinarian.
Dogs should be tested FIRSTů before starting heartworm preventatives
unless they are less than 7 months old. Dogs over 7 months of age
that have started on preventative without first testing for heartworm
are at an increased risk of developing severe reactions. Puppies should
be started on heartworm preventative by 8 weeks of age (depending
on the product being used) and then blood tested at 7 months of age.
Dogs should be tested on a regular basis, yearly if any
doses of preventative have been missed and once every 2 years even
if no doses were missed and preventative is given year around.
both dogs and cats, clinical signs of heartworm disease may not be
recognized in the early stages, as the number of heartworms in an
animal tends to accumulate gradually over a period of months and sometimes
years and after repeated mosquito bites.
dogs may exhibit no signs of the disease, while heavily infected dogs
may eventually show clinical signs, including a mild, persistent cough,
reluctance to move or exercise, fatigue after only moderate exercise,
reduced appetite and weight loss.
Cats may exhibit
clinical signs that are very nonspecific, mimicking many other feline
diseases. Chronic clinical signs include vomiting, gagging, difficulty
or rapid breathing, lethargy and weight loss. Signs associated with
the first stage of heartworm disease, when the heartworms enter a
blood vessel and are carried to the pulmonary arteries, are often
mistaken for feline asthma or allergic bronchitis, when in fact they
are actually due to a syndrome newly defined as Heartworm Associated
Respiratory Disease (HARD).
While treatment for heartworm disease in dogs is possible, it
is a complicated and expensive process, taking weeks for infected
animals to recover.
here to learn about treating heartworm infection and why it's
better to PREVENT heartworm infection rather than TREAT it.
While it is true that feline heartworm infection is not as common
as the canine infection, the feline infection has recently been found
to be a much more widespread problem than previously believed. In
the past, a common statistic was that within a given geographic area,
the feline heartworm infection rate was approximately 10% of the canine
infection rate. Recent research indicates this is not so; in heartworm
endemic areas, the incidence of feline heartworm infection rivals
or surpasses that of feline leukemia virus or feline immunodeficiency
virus . An incidence of 2% to 14% of all cats has been reported for
endemic areas, making heartworm a concern for any cat living where
there are mosquitoes.
your veterinarian more about Feline Heartworm.