Out & About

Pet Health

By Dr. Charles Paul Ulrich, DVM
Friday, Mar 13 2015 12:03 AM

When we think about parasites and heart health, canine heartworms are the focus. The dog is the natural host for heartworms, which are worms that live primarily in the heart of the dog and other wild canids. This parasite is spread by mosquitoes and is found in all 50 states. Canines infected with heartworms have microscopic larvae, called microfilaria, in their blood. A mosquito bites an infected dog and then spreads the microfilaria to another dog when it takes a blood meal. These larvae then develop into mature worms that inhabit the heart and blood vessels of the heart and lungs. It takes about six months from the time of a mosquito bite for the mature worms to develop in the heart. Heartworm disease can cause disease in the heart,...

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