Heartworm disease in dogs and cats is on the rise in Ontario. Many pet owners would not consider the ill effects of this tiny and potentially fatal parasite. What happens is that it is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites an uninfected dog, it injects the immature worms into the tissue of the animal through its saliva. These immature worms migrate and develop in lungs and potentially the heart, where they mature into adults and start to multiply.
The best way to go about heartworm is to test and use prevention. Regular testing can be done at your veterinary clinic by obtaining a small blood sample to detect the adult parasite. If the test is negative, you would want to consider a monthly oral or topical application, many of which are comprehensive in that they take care of: fleas, ticks and aid in the treatment of internal parasites. This medication kills the immature heartworms transmitted by the mosquitoes and stops the cycle of the parasites.
Following some simple precautions can eliminate the worry for pet owners. All it takes is some forethought and advice from your veterinary clinic.