Mosquitos are the only source of transmittable carriers with the ability to spread heartworm disease. However, infected mosquitos are rampant and now are in every state throughout our country. Florida, of course, has a very high rate of the mosquito population. Year round, we have an influx of mosquitos.
How are mosquitos infected?
Unfortunately, many coyotes, wolves, foxes and other wildlife are carriers of heartworms, and once a mosquito bites them, the heartworms larvae called microfilariae immediately infect the mosquito. When a mosquito bites a cat, dog or ferret, the microfilariae implants into the pet that is unprotected.
From there, the larvae will begin to grow, and within a few months time, the mature heartworms rapidly reproduce and embed themselves into the lungs, heart and blood supply.
Infected pets can have over 200 worms that are up to a foot long. Prevention is easy; your veterinarian can provide heartworm prevention in the form of pills, topicals, and injectables. Heartworm prevention also assists with averting other parasitic worms like hookworms and tapeworms.
If left untreated, it is extremely likely that your pet will die, or suffer unpleasant circumstances for the remainder of its life. The medication used to kill heartworms is very expensive, extremely dangerous, and can produce unpleasant side effects for your pet. The treatment is an arsenic-based injectable, and animals must be kept in a crate or barricaded in a small area for months to avoid any exercise after treatment. The medication that kills the worm can cause blockages in the lungs and the pulmonary airway. If your pet is exerting themselves while playing or exercising, it can cause imminent death.
With the prevention so readily available and cost-effective, you shouldn’t think twice about protecting your dearly beloved pets from the harrowing probability of heartworm disease. To find out more, please call your veterinarian today.
Animal Oasis Veterinary Hospital
At Animal Oasis Veterinary Hospital in Naples, we believe our clients and patients are the heart of our practice. We strive to ensure a happy experience through superior customer service, personalized care, and effective state-of-the-art medicine. It is our mission to ensure our patients enjoy a lifetime of good health. If you believe your pet may have the disease, or if you’d like to know more about getting your pet vaccinated, please call Animal Oasis Veterinary Hospital at 239-431-9667.