What is Heartworm ?
Heartworm is a type of parasitic roundworm that can infect dogs, cats, and other mammals, including humans. The worm is transmitted to hosts by mosquitoes, which carry and spread the larvae.
When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites an infected animal, the larvae enter the bloodstream and make their way to the heart and lungs, where they mature and mate. The adult worms produce more larvae, which are carried by the blood to other parts of the body, including the blood vessels and tissues of the heart and lungs. Over time, the worms can cause damage to the heart and lungs, leading to serious health problems such as heart failure, lung disease, and even death.
What are The Symptoms of Heartworm ?
Symptoms of heartworm infection can include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight loss, and a reduced tolerance for exercise. In severe cases, the infected animal may develop a swollen belly, collapse, and experience sudden death.
How to Diagnose Heartworm ?
Diagnosis of heartworm infection is typically made through a combination of blood tests, chest x-rays, and physical examination. Treatment of heartworm involves administering medications to kill the adult worms, followed by a period of rest and care to allow the animal to recover.
Prevention of heartworm is possible through the use of monthly preventive medications, such as heartworm pills, topical treatments, or injections, which kill the larvae before they can mature into adult worms. Regular veterinary check-ups and testing for heartworm is also important to catch the infection early and prevent complications.