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Beware of mosquito season! Heartworms are not spread directly from dog to dog—the transmission of heartworms requires an intermediate host, the mosquito. Due to this fact, the spreading of heartworms coincides with mosquito season. Fully developed heartworms in an infected canine produce offspring, microfilariae, which travel through the animal's blood. When a mosquito bites an animal that has heartworms, it extracts blood containing the microfilariae. After about two weeks inside of the mosquito, the microfilariae transform into infective larvae. Then, when that mosquito bites another animal it spreads the infected larvae.
The key to keeping your pet safe is prevention. Treat your pet, have your pet tested, and put your dog on a preventative medication.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|