Heart worm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease. It is caused by a blood-borne parasite known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult heart worms are found in the heart and adjacent large blood vessels of infected dogs.
Heart worm infection starts when the dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, which injects heart worm larvae (known as microfilaria) into the dog's skin.The larvae injected into the dog by the mosquito then proceed to go through their maturation cycle and eventually end up living as adults inside of the heart and lungs.
The most obvious clinical signs of heart worm disease are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath, weakness, nervousness, listlessness and loss of stamina. All of these signs are most noticeable following exercise, when some dogs may even faint or become disoriented.
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