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Heartworm

  • Canine Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal parasitic condition where roundworms (Dirofilaria Immitis) develop in the heart and major blood vessels of dogs. Heartworm infections cause severe heart and pulmonary damage as well as dysfunction of the kidneys and liver.
  • Heartworm disease is transmitted when adult worms produce offspring (microfilariae) that circulate in the blood and are then transmitted to mosquitoes when the mosquitoes bite an infected dog. The offspring (microfilariae) develop to an ineffective stage in the mosquito and are then transmitted when the mosquito bites another dog.
  • Heartworm cases have been reported in all 50 of the United States. The disease is most common in the coastal regions of the mid-Atlantic, southern and Gulf states as well as within 100 miles of the Mississippi River.
  • Clinical signs of heartworm disease vary according to severity. The most common signs are a persistent cough, abnormal lung sounds and an intolerance to exercise. In severe cases, signs include enlargement of the liver, temporary loss of consciousness due to poor blood flow to the brain, excessive fluid in the abdominal cavity and abnormal heart sounds.
  • Most dogs infected with heartworm can be treated. The goal is to kill all adult worms and all offspring. Heartworm infected dogs that are normal or have mild disease have a high treatment success rate. Dogs with a more severe heartworm disease can be successfully treated but the incidence of complication and mortality are higher.


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Disclaimer : This is an educational web site. If you obtain information from this site, ask my opinion or assistance on health related issues, feeding suggestions and training or behavior, understand it should NOT be used "in lieu of" veterinarian's advice, diagnosis or treatment. Permission is granted to use this information for individual educational purposes only. Any other use of these materials for any other purpose violates intellectual property rights.


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