What is Heartworm?
Heartworm is a parasite transferred by the bite of an infected mosquito. This happens when a mosquito bites an infected animal – the young heartworms (called microfilaria) can enter into the mosquito. After a 2 week incubation period, the microfilaria will mature into larvae. When this mosquito feeds again after the incubation period, the larvae is transmitted to the animal bitten where they mature into adult heartworms. The worms then cause damage to the blood vessels and decrease the efficacy of the heart’s function. This will result in problematic heart and lung disease in your pet.
Where is Heartworm?
Heartworm disease is in Canada and most prevalent in Southern Ontario.
Last year (2016), 195 positive heartworm cases were reported to petdiseasereport.com – mostly in the Southern Ontario area. Keep in mind that these were only the reported cases so the actual number of animals with heartworm disease is much greater and is on the rise! In 2016, at least 1 positive heartworm result was reported in Mississauga alone with even more positives reported in the GTA. As of now (2017), already 115 pets have been tested positive for heartworm.
Questions you should ask your veterinarian, which will help you maintain your pet’s future health, include:
What can I do?
Fortunately, heartworm disease is preventable! To protect your dog against heartworm, our clinic sends blood work into the lab for testing. If the results are negative, heartworm prevention can be applied.
When should I bring my dog in?
Now!! Heartworm season is a term used to describe the months mosquitos are active and therefore, the months when heartworm disease is of most concern. The season lasts from May to October. Prevention is the key to combating heartworm and should be given to your dog during these months of the heartworm season. At River Grove Animal Hospital, we begin our heartworm testing in April so pet owners can have their prevention medication ready to start on May 1st. However, it’s not too late yet – bringing your dog in as soon as possible for heartworm testing and prevention should be your top priority!
We only charge $39.00 for heartworm testing – no exam fee. Call us at 905-567-4677 to book your appointment today!