Heartworm disease is a serious disease that affects both cats and dogs. Heartworms are worms in the blood that are transmitted by mosquitoes. The mosquito bites your pet and injects an immature heartworm. When your pet is not on preventive medicine, the worm matures and makes its way to the heart and lungs. Here, it causes damage leading to heart failure and even death. Cats usually have lung damage instead of heart damage and sudden death is a possibility. Luckily, we have medicine that can prevent the disease when given regularly.
For dogs over 6 months old:
A heartworm test should be performed every 12 months to ensure that they do not already have heartworms. If the test is negative, your dog should continue on heartworm prevention year round. If your dog tests positive, further testing will need to be done so correct treatment can be given.