Heartworm is a preventable, but serious and potentially fatal, parasite that primarily infects dogs, cats and ferrets. It can also infect a variety of wild animals, including wild canids (e.g., foxes, wolves, coyotes), wild felids (e.g. tigers, lions, pumas), raccoons, opossums, and pinnipeds (e.g., sea lions and seals), as well as others. There have been documented human infections, but they are thought to be rare and do not usually result in signs of illness.
How is heartworm transmitted and what does it cause?
of the microfilariae to infective larvae within the mosquito (10 days to 2 weeks later) the infective heartworm larvae are capable of infecting another animal. Adult heartworms can survive for 5 to 7 years in dogs and several months to years in cats.
Where are heartworms found?
What pets should be tested for heartworm?
How can I tell if my pet has heartworm infection or disease?
of the heart), may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis, to evaluate the severity of the disease, and to determine the best treatment plan for your dog.
CATS: Signs of possible heartworm disease in cats include coughing, respiratory distress, and vomiting. In some cases, a cat may suddenly die from heartworms.
How can my pet be treated?
follow your veterinarian’s instructions.
Can heartworms be surgically removed?
Can heartworm disease be prevented?
Ferrets and heartworm
For more information about heartworm, visit the American Heartworm Society’s website.