If you’re just moving down to this area, or are just now getting your first dog or cat, you need to know about heartworm disease and prevention. In South Florida all dogs and cats should be on preventative all year long (in your local area, please check with your veterinarian for instructions). Heartworms, a potentially deadly problem, are spread by the pesky mosquito, and you know we have plenty of those! You have a choice of either a monthly oral or topical medication. There’re even products that combine monthly heartworm prevention with monthly flea prevention (Sentinel, a tablet; or Revolution, a topical). Ask us to test your pet today and then start on prevention right away. It’s the least you can do for a friend.

What is Heartworm?

  • Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis or D. immitis) is a parasite and is transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • It can be found in most areas of the country where mosquitoes breed.
  • When a mosquito bites an infected animal, the heartworm larvae are ingested along with the blood.
  • Larvae mature to the infective stage within the body of the mosquito then are transmitted to a dog or cat through another mosquito bite.
  • Once inside the host animal, heartworms travel to the lungs and the right side of the heart, where they can grow and mate for several years.
  • Adult heartworms reside in the pulmonary arteries, or right heart if large amount of worms are present and can grow to a length of 5-to-12 inches in dogs and 5-to-8 inches in cats.

The early signs of heartworm disease in dogs:
  • Fatigue
  • Nonproductive cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weight loss
The signs of heartworm disease in cats:
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing and chronic vomiting
  • Occasional collapse
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Sudden death

Prevention is the key. They are oral prevention, topical preventions and there are ones that combine heartworm prevention with flea/tick control, intestinal parasites and more. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Just give us a call at 561-746-5501 or email us fetch@petvets.com