Heartworms, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, are parasites found in the pulmonary arteries and heart chambers. Infection poses a serious threat to pets. Dirofilariasis is the disease caused by heartworms. Fortunately, it can be detected with a simple blood test. We recommend that our clients have their pets tested every year, or every two years if they’ve been treated with an antiparasitic.
Why are heartworms so dangerous for pets?
As the name implies, heartworms settle in the heart, where they can quickly reproduce and cause serious disease and organ damage. Heartworm disease is difficult to treat because of where the worms are located. There are treatments that can completely cure pets, but they can be expensive, risky and taxing. Unfortunately, the most serious cases of heartworm disease can result in death.
How can I protect my pet from these parasites?
There are preventative antiparasitic treatments that kill the worms before they reach the adult stage. They are stopped from reproducing and spreading throughout the pet’s cardiovascular system. These treatments are usually available in different forms for different pets’ needs. Speak with your vet to find out which treatment is right for your pet.