Heartworm (a mosquito-borne disease)
Discovered by American parasitologist Joseph Leidy in 1856, heartworm has been given the scientific name Dirofilaria immitis. Heartworm is a disease common throughout the United States and worldwide, it is transmitted by mosquitos to dogs, cats and other species of mammals.
Once infected the male and female worms live within the chambers of the heart. The worms prohibit proper valve closure as blood is pumped from one chamber to the next, seriously impairing the operation of the heart. If left untreated the effects are weight loss, listlessness, cough, difficulty breathing, muscular weakness, disturbances of vision, chronic heart failure, and eventual death.
Drugs have been developed that will prevent dogs from contracting heartworm. The drug attacks the immature stages of the parasite in the dog and prevents the worms from maturing to the adult stage. Therefore, a dog that is on medication can be repeatedly infected during the mosquito season and remain free of heartworm.
For further information please visit American
Heartworm Society or contact your veterinarian.
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