Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis) disease is a very serious disease for both cats and dogs and very widespread in the South. For example, most stray dogs or dogs adopted from a southern shelter have this disease. The immature heartworms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Next they move through the tissues and into heart and lungs. As the worms grow and reproduce more immature worms are released into your pet’s bloodstream. When other mosquitos bite your pet the mosquito can transmit heartworm disease to other companion animals. If left untreated, it can result in congestive heart disease and result in failure of other organs eventually leading to death.
Pet owners can help prevent this disease by performing annual heartworm blood test and giving a heartworm preventative each month throughout the year. At Elizabethtown Veterinary Hospital, we strive to educate clients in regards to early prevention of this deadly disease. Prevention can be given orally or topically every month (Iverhart Max, Trifexis, or Advantage multi) or by injection every 6 months (Proheart 6).