Heartworm infection in dogs is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition caused by a parasitic worm. Dogs are the natural host for the parasite, so they have the highest rate of infection; however, heartworms can also infect cats, ferrets, and other pets. The transmission occurs through the bite of an infected mosquito, which introduces microscopic larvae into the dog's bloodstream. Over several months, these larvae mature into long worms that inhabit the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels. As the infection progresses, it can lead to severe damage to these vital organs, resulting in symptoms such as coughing, lethargy, exercise intolerance, and weight loss. If left untreated, heartworm disease can be fatal. Prevention is crucial, involving regular veterinary check-ups, heartworm testing, and the administration of prescribed preventive medications. Environmental measures, such as reducing mosquito exposure and eliminating standing water, can also contribute to a comprehensive strategy to protect dogs from this potentially devastating parasitic infection.
Articles in this section provide tips to reduce the risk of infection as well as further information about the risk that Taylorsville area dogs have to infection.