Heartworm and your dog

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Heartworm is a disease to take seriously if you own a dog. A veterinarian from the French part of the island explains that since Irma, cases of infection have greatly increased.

Against 2 to 3 cases, today there are more than a dozen positive screenings every month. But what is heartworm and how to prevent this disease, which can ultimately lead to the death of your lifelong companion?

It is through the female mosquito that this infection is transmitted from one dog to another. By biting the infected dog, the insect draws blood from the heartworm larvae, which are called microfilariae. It is in hot and humid environments where mosquitoes generally like to live, that the larvae develop and thus carry the virus, infect other dogs by biting them.

Once in the dog's body, the larva takes a certain time to develop, between 7 to 9 months until it reaches the pulmonary artery, the lungs or the heart. What complicates the disease is that a dog can carry the virus without having the symptoms of the disease. However, it contributes to the transmission of the parasite through mosquito bites. To prevent this disease, an annual screening by blood test is advised, moreover a preventive treatment throughout the life of the animal is necessary for more security. If the heartworm is not treated the risks for your animal are fatal.

Did you know ? : Heartworms lodged in the heart of a dog can reach 30 cm in length.

Examples of symptoms in an infected dog:

• Weightloss

• Exercise intolerance

• Lethargy

• Poor general health

• Cough

• Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)

• Syncope (loss of consciousness)

• Abdominal distension (swollen belly)

JB

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