Infected mosquitoes transmit microscopic microfilariae into the blood of dogs and cats. The Microfilariae travel to the dog or cats heart where they mature into adult heartworms.
Dr. LaBrie says mosquitos are the only insect that transmits heartworms. And if a dog has heartworms, he can give it to a mosquito, that then bites another dog, spreading the disease. “It takes about six months for a heartworm test to become positive. So, I test dogs yearly. But you won't see anything in the stool.” Fortunately there is medication in the form of a monthly protective pill. “The appropriate dose, every month, will prevent heartworms,” the doctor says. And all dogs should be dosed, with this possibility of contagion. Early signs of heartworm infection are coughing, lethargy, not wanting to run around, and shortness of breath. If a dog does develop heartworms, with early detection, a round of injections can cure it. But left untreated, it is fatal. HeartwormSociety.org warns that as we experience wetter, warmer weather, we may see a rise in insecticide-resistant mosquitoes. So, this menace could get worse. If you want to avoid heartworm disease, move north. LaBrie says its extreme cold kills these disease carrying insects. In semi-tropical climates, like San Antonio, we have to be vigilant. For more information, visit the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, at the Texas A&M University website. vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/avoiding-heartworms-othermosquito-borne-diseases/ Until next month! Woof, woof! Roxie
78209magazine.com | JULY 2019
Community and Lifestyle magazine for the 78209 zip code of San Antonio, Tx.