What is Heartworm Disease?

What is heartworm disease?

Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by infection with the Dirofilaria immitis parasite. Parasitic larvae are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito carrying the infective stage of heartworm. Heartworms mature and migrate throughout the body, eventually inhabiting the arteries of the lungs and  the right side of the heart.

What is Revolution?
This once-a-month topical (on-the-skin) treatment for parasite protection. In cats, Revolution protects against heartworm, roundworms, hookworms, fleas, and even ear mites when used as directed. In dogs, Revolution protects against heartworm, fleas, American Dog ticks, ear mites, and Sarcoptic mange mites when used as directed.

How does Revolution work?
Revolution is used in the prevention, control, and treatment of various parasite infections. The active ingredient is selamectin, which interferes with the parasite’s nervous system. It is an effective heartworm preventive, killing the immature form of the heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis). It kills adult fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) and prevents flea eggs from hatching for one month. It is also used for the treatment and control of ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) and sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei). Revolution is effective in controlling tick infestations due to the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis). In cats, Revolution also treats and controls roundworm and hookworm infections.

When is heartworm testing performed?

Heartworm testing at McLean Animal Hospital is is April 15-July 31st. Find out about our promotions here.

Why do we start heartworm prevention on June 1st?

In order for a mosquito to be a carrier of heartworm they need to first bite an infected animal. Then that mosquito needs roughly 3 weeks of temperatures of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius) or above in order to incubate the heartworm and be a carrier able to infect your dog. Also, the heartworm prevention that we recommend works retroactively. If you apply it on June 1st it will actually cover your pet from May 1st. We can give an extra dose for May 1 if client requests or if we want to be 100% safe, although risk is low.

Why do you only test during this period?

Heartworm disease is transmitted through an infected mosquitoes bite to your dog. The parasite takes 6 months to show up on a blood test. So if your dog was infected last mosquito season with the parasite we want to make sure we are testing 6 months after that in order to catch any infection from the previous season.

Heartworm Facts and Myth

Imagine reference: Hancock Park Veterinary Clinic