Heartworm Basics from the AHS

At Mosquito Authority, our mission is to protect you and your family from mosquitoes and the diseases they carry. Of course, your family includes the furry, four-legged members! Heartworm can be fatal, and protecting your pets is important. The only way to ensure your pet is protected from heartworm is to receive regular treatment courtesy of your veterinarian.  

The American Heartworm Society (AHS) is a great resource for information about heartworm disease, what symptoms to look for, and how best to prevent it. Here is an excerpt explaining how heartworm is transmitted:

The mosquito plays an essential role in the heartworm life cycle. Adult female heartworms living in an infected dog, fox, coyote, or wolf produce microscopic baby worms called microfilaria that circulate in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites and takes a blood meal from an infected animal, it picks up these baby worms, which develop and mature into “infective stage” larvae over a period of 10 to 14 days. Then, when the infected mosquito bites another dog, cat, or susceptible wild animal, the infective larvae are deposited onto the surface of the animal’s skin and enter the new host through the mosquito’s bite wound. Once inside a new host, it takes approximately 6 months for the larvae to develop into sexually mature adult heartworms. Once mature, heartworms can live for 5 to 7 years in dogs and up to 2 or 3 years in cats. Because of the longevity of these worms, each mosquito season can lead to an increasing number of worms in an infected pet.  

For more information, visit the AHS website: https://www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources/heartworm-basics