Preventing Heart Worm Is Easy. Treating Heart Worm Is Not!

Posted by Maureen Lake at

How many times have you been to the Vet and they always ask if your pet is on heart worm prevention? Right? Well, here are some facts why your pet (especially dogs) should at least be on prevention during the summer months. But, the fact of the matter is it would be best for your pet to be on prevention year round. 


Heart worm, prevention, dog, cat


Here Are The Vital Facts:

What Exactly Is Heartworm Disease?

  •  Adult worms release their young, called microfilariae, into an animal’s bloodstream.
  • A mosquito bites the infected animal.
  • Mosquitoes that have become infected transmit it by biting your pet.
  • It takes up to 6 months for the microfilariae (young heartworms) to mature into adult worms.
  • For dog's- the maturing young and adult worms inhabit the bloodstream, working their way to your pet's heart. The worms can live up to 7 years in your pet!
  • For cats- the maturing young and adult worms fester in the blood stream and heart. They can live up to 3 years!

heart worm, pets


Where Is Heartworm Found In The U.S.?

  •  Found in all 50 states.
  •  Most cases come from the southern part of the country.
  •  Where ever mosquitoes are - there is heart worm disease.


heart worm incidence


Signs of Heartworm Disease In Dogs:

  •  May not show signs of the disease unless the dog is heavily infected.
  •  Mild persistent cough
  •  Reluctant to move or exercise
  •  Fatigue after moderate exercise
  •  Reduced appetite and weight loss.


heart worm, dog, sick


Signs of Heartworm Disease In Cats:

  •  May exhibit signs that are very non-specific, mimicking several other feline diseases.
  •  Vomiting
  • Gagging
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Lethargy and weight loss.
  • Sometimes feline asthma or allergic bronchitis can be mistaken for Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD)


Cat, heart worm


cat, heart worm



Cat Video pertaining to  the truth about Heartworm Disease in Cats


For dogs it is always better to have them on prevention year round instead of treating the disease. Treatment for the disease is possible for dogs, but it is a long

painful/uncomfortable and expensive process.


One reason why your Veterinarian suggests your pet be on prevention year round is because it helps to prevent other worms--- such as hookworms and roundworms, which your pet can pick up anywhere. 


For more information on both dog and cat heart worm disease, including how it’s diagnosed, treated and preventions, please visit American Heartworm Society 


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  • Heartworms are so gross and scary. I didn’t realize that cats were at risk too.

    Beth on
  • This is a great post… heartworms are scary and can cause unnecessary harm to your dog.

    Christine & Riley on
  • I agree with prevention !

    Jodi Jarvis-Therrian on
  • Such an important message and very thorough post! I blogged about Heartworm disease as well this month. It’s so easy to prevent but very difficult and Costly to treat! It is so often fatal. I wanted to share your post but can’t figure out how/where to share a post?
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Cathy Armato on
  • Wonderful post. So much important information that some may take for granted how something so preventable and lead to something very seriously. Thank you!

    Spencer the Goldendoodle on

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