Though uncommon in Québec, heartworm disease poses a serious threat to our pets. Pet owners should learn to spot the signs of heartworm because it can be deadly if left untreated.
How can my pet catch heartworm?
Heartworm can spread through the bloodstream from a single mosquito bite. The parasite settles in the blood vessels, and the larvae then travel to the heart. It takes about 5 to 7 months for the larvae to mature into worms. Adult heartworms settle in the heart tissue and clog the heart and blood vessels.
What are the signs of heartworms?
Heartworm symptoms typically take several years to appear. By the time you notice any signs, the infection is already serious. Pet owners should keep an eye out for:
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
Can heartworm be treated?
Yes. However, it’s important to stress that heartworm treatment is a long, complicated and expensive process that poses a risk for your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to answer any questions you have and go over how it works in detail.
To prevent infection, we recommend getting annual blood tests so we can monitor and catch the early signs of heartworm disease.