What Causes Heartworm?

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Heartworms are caused by mosquitoes biting an infected animal and spreading the larvae to another animal, which travel through the bloodstream and reach adulthood in the heart. Understand the development of heartworms with information from a pet care specialist in this free video on dogs.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Care & Breed Information
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Video Transcript

What causes heartworm? Heartworm is a parasitic worm that is transferred from animal to animal in it's larval stage via mosquitoes. So basically a mosquito lands on an infected animal, sucks up some of the blood, and the larvae is in that blood, and then it lands on a separate animal and goes to drink again and that larvae is redeposited on the new animal. That larvae then enters the blood stream and proceeds to go through several stages of life before making it's way through the veins to the right side of the heart where it then reaches adulthood and waits to reproduce and let off it's own larvae into the bloodstream of the animal. Adult heartworms have been known to reach upwards of twelve inches in length. That is a one foot long worm in the heart of your dog. So they are pretty serious parasites and definitely something to be concerned about if you keep dogs. Definitely have your animal checked out for heartworm and get on a regular heartworm medication as they are a pretty serious ailment, especially once they reach that adult stage in your animal.


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