Heartworm Disease 101Heartworm Disease

As a pet owner, you’re probably well versed in the subject of heartworm disease and how it can affect your pet. Transmitted by infected mosquitoes, heartworm disease is can be fatal if it’s left untreated, but it’s also easily preventable with adequate protection.

Heartworms are thin, hair-like parasites that can grow up to 12 inches long. When a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae bites its host, the larvae are transmitted into the bloodstream. Eventually they reach the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels, where they typically congregate. It takes about 6 months for the larvae to develop into adult worms. As the worms grow and accumulate, they cause damage to the blood vessels and affect the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently, leading to heart and lung disease.

How to Protect Your Pet

All cats and dogs can be susceptible to heartworm infection, which is why we recommend year-round prevention for all pets. Furthermore, it’s important to realize that even strictly indoor pets can be affected, since mosquitoes can easily enter the home. Even if your pet has a long, thick coat, their nose, ears and paw pads are still vulnerable.

At Northfield Veterinary Hospital, we carry oral preventives for dogs and a topical preventive for cats. We are also happy to now be offering ProHeart 6, an injectable preventive for dogs that can last up to 6 months. This preventive has been proven safe and effective for all healthy dogs over 6 months of age, including dogs that are pregnant and lactating and/or breeding.

If you are interested in trying ProHeart 6 for your pet, we would be happy to provide you with more information and help you make the best decision for their health. Call us today at (720) 503-9559!