Worm Advice

Heartworm

What do they look like and where do they live?

  • Heartworms live in the pulmonary arteries and right- side of the heart of infected dogs and cats
  • Adults are white, slender, filamentous (or thread-like) with a tapered head. They vary from approx.12 to 30 cm in length but are never seen as they remain inside the infected animal. The larval stage (known as microfilariae) circulate in the blood stream and are microscopic

How can my pet contract Heartworm?

  • They are not found in the UK and Ireland, however they are a threat to travelling pets in Europe and elsewhere in the world
  • They are transmitted by infected mosquitoes

How will this parasite affect my pet?

  • If heartworm is contracted whilst travelling abroad, and if left untreated, the disease can lead to symptoms such as high blood pressure, heart failure, breathing difficulties, lethargy and even death

Can this parasite affect my health?

  • Infected mosquitoes can transmit heartworm to humans through their bite although this is a rare occurrence