Heartworm disease poses a major health threat to both dogs and cats, and it’s on the rise. Present throughout the United States and Canada, the disease strikes pets, if unprotected by preventive heartworm medicines, who have been bitten by a mosquito carrying contagious microfilariae.
A mosquito becomes a carrier of heartworm disease after it bites an infected animal. With the blood of the animal, the mosquito also takemicrofilariae, which circulate in the animal’s blood and are the young offspring of adult heartworms living in the animal’s heart.
Once in the mosquito, the microfilariae take 10 to 14 days to mature into infective larvae, after which they are ready to infect animals the mosquito goes on to bite. Only certain animals are commonly susceptible to contracting heartworms, and cats and dogs both make the list, though the disease remains more prominent in dogs. Contact us today if your pet is not up-to-date with their heartworm medication!