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An Hoang Veterinary Student Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. Canine Heartworms and Heartworm Disease . What are Heartworms?. A parasitic worm that lives in the right side of the heart of Dogs and Cats. Photos from: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/.
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Texas A&M University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Photos from: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/
A day in the life of a Heartworm – Life Cycles - A life cycle describes the different stages in the life of an organism, including what other organisms it needs to live, and how it reproduces.
The microfilaria grow up to be adult heartworms and produce more microfilaria that will be pumped out into the blood stream and be picked up during a mosquito bite!
Baby heartworms – “microfilaria” are found in the salivary glands of mosquitoes
Over a 5 month period the microfilaria will move through the dogs body and make themselves at home in the right side of the heart and the blood vessels that go to the lungs!
The microfilaria in the mosquito’s saliva are transmitted to the dog when the mosquito bites the dogLife Cycle of Heartworms
Life Cycle from http://www.stopwormsdead.co.uk/
We take a small blood sample, mix a few drops of blood with special chemicals and pour the sample on a “snap test”. The test detects proteins produced by adult heartworms. Your dog’s veterinarian will usually do this test on your dog during his yearly check up.
Photo from: http://www.vmth.ucdavis.edu/Cardio/cases/case27/tests.htm
Microfilaria circulate in the blood of dogs – if we take a sample of blood and put it on a microscope slide we can see the microfilaria.
Photo from: http://www.stanford.edu/class/humbio103/ParaSites2006/Dirofilariasis/Diagnosis.htm
Infection:The presence of heartworms (immature or adult) is detected but there are no clinical symptoms, i.e. the animal does not appear “sick”.
Disease:When the presence and numbers of heartworms impedes the physical well being of the animal causing clinical symptoms such as, coughing, vomiting, nose bleeding, exercise intolerance, heart failure, heart enlargement
Heartworm infection and disease is easily prevented with monthly drug treatments.