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 Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is a parasite that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitos.  The heartworm is a type of filaria, a small thread-like worm that causes filariasis.  The definitive host is the dog, but it can also infect cats, wolves, coyotes, foxes and under very rare circumstances, humans.  The worms travel through the bloodstream, harming arteries and vital organs as they go, ultimately completing their journey to the vessels of the lung and the heart chambers about six months after the initial infection.  Several hundred worms can live in one dog for five to seven years.  Heartworm disease is serious, and can be fatal.

Symptoms of heartworm infestation can include labored breathing, coughing, vomiting, weight loss and listlessness, and fatigue after only moderate exercise. However, some dogs exhibit no symptoms at all until late stages of infection.

For more information, please visit the American Heartworm Society website