The next three posts will be about Heartworm, with heartworm season around the corner its definitely a topic that needs to be discussion.
Heartworms are a mosquito bred parasite whose complete life cycle is about 6 to 7 months.
First, an infected mosquito bites the host (i.e.) your dog; leaving behind a larvae on the dog’s skin. The larvae, then burrows into the dog.
Many changes occur to the larvae before developing into a sexually active adult worm. The adult worm will make its way into a vein and move to the dog’s heart where it will mate. The female worm gives birth to young, called microfilariae. Microfilariae must go into another host for survival and need the mosquito to continue their life cycle.
Unfortunately, they can remain viable in the dog’s blood stream for 3 years, during which time mosquitos drink the dog’s infected blood. The microflilariae then infect the mosquito and the larvae moves to the mosquito’s mouth - ready to be deposited on a new host.