Canine Heartworms

Canine heartworms have been found in dogs in all 50 states and in

many countries around the world.  Adult heartworms can grow up to 12

inches in length and live in the large blood vessels of the lungs and in the

heart.  Adult heartworms mate to produce immature worms called

microfilaria.  These worms circulate in the bloodstream.  Veterinarians

routinely identify dogs with heartworms by performing blood tests that

detect a substance within the worm called heartworm antigen.


Heartworms are transmitted to heartworm free dogs by the bite of

mosquitoes that carry the infectious immature worms.  Mosquitoes

become  infected when they feed on dogs carrying the microfilaria.  It

takes  about 6 months for adult heartworms to develop in dogs,

following  the  bite of an infected mosquito. Adult worms can damage

the lung’s   blood  vessels, heart, or secondarily damage other body

organs.   Dogs  with  heartworms may cough, tire easily, or develop

heart failure and die.   Not every infected dog will show clinical signs

of illness, even  though  they may harbor many adult worms.


Heartworm-carrying mosquitoes are present in Florida all year

long, so it is essential that all dogs are given heartworm  preventatives

ALL YEAR.  The most common products are the oral,  once a month

preventatives.  Some products not only prevent heartworms,  they

also treat against intestinal parasites and fleas.  For those dogs that

refuse to take oral medication, or if remembering  to give a monthly  

preventative is difficult for the owner, there is another option. It is

an injectable preventative that lasts for 6 months  and protects  

against heartworms and hookworms.  


Our canine friends deserve to be heartworm free. Please call us so

that we can help you chose the heartworm medication that suits your

pet’s lifestyle and medical condition.

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