Tiny Mosquito



Mosquito Diseases - Dog Heartworm

What is heartworm disease?
Heartworms are found in the heart and large adjacent vessels of infected dogs. One dog may have as many as 300 worms in its heart vessels.

DogThirty known species of mosquitoes transmit heartworms. The female mosquito becomes infected by biting the infected dog and ingesting the heartworm microfilariae. The microfilariae develop for 10 to 30 days in the mosquito and are then transmitted to the next dog that it bites. When fully developed, the infective larvae enter the dog’s bloodstream and move to the heart and adjacent vessels where they grow. Within two to three months they start reproducing within the dog’s vessels.

It is important to note that heartworms are not transmitted from dog to dog. It is the female mosquito that acts as the intermediary host, transmitting the disease to canine victims.

What are the symptoms?
The most obvious signs of heartworms in a dog are a chronic cough, shortness of breath, weakness and loss of stamina. Look for these signs in your dog, particularly following exercise. Some infected dogs may even faint after a long walk or rigorous activity.

Other symptoms of heartworm disease include:

  • Abnormal heart and lung sounds
  • Swelling of abdomen and legs
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia

Unfortunately, most infected dogs do not show any signs of heartworm disease for as long as two years, by which time the disease is well advanced.

How are heartworms treated?
The drug used to eliminate heartworms in dogs contains arsenic. Although there is some risk involved in this method of treatment, fatalities are rare. The amount of arsenic used is sufficient to kill the heartworms but not enough to harm the dog.

95% of dogs with heartworm disease are successfully treated with this medication.

Read more about heartworm disease.



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