What is Heartworm Disease?
Heartworm disease is an invisible but potentially fatal threat that occurs in dogs and other animals. Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis) are parasitic worms that are transmitted to dogs by infected mosquitoes. These microscopic larvae develop under the skin, then migrate to the blood vessels of the heart and lungs of the infected animal where they rapidly grow, becoming adults that are 5-12 inches in length.2
Long-term effects of heartworms in dogs include severe damage to the vessels of the dog’s lungs, typically long before any symptoms appear. While treatment is available, heartworm disease causes lasting damage to the heart, lung, and arteries, and can affect the dog’s health and quality of life long after the parasites are gone. The best way to prevent heartworm disease is with a monthly heartworm disease preventive.