FAQ - HEARTWORM IN DOGS
Heartworm disease is caused by a parasitic worm called Dirofilaria immitis. Worms spread through mosquito bites. It is not contagious to other dogs directly (a dog cannot catch the disease from being near another infected dog).
Humans are not a natural host for heartworms.
Dogs are a definitive host, meaning that the worms mature into adult worms, mate and reproduce offspring. Worms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels and look like spaghetti noodles. Worms can be male and female. The earliest that the heartworm proteins can be detected is about 5 months after it was bitten by the infected mosquito.
Often in the early stages of heartworm disease a dog will not show symptoms. A dog an outwardly appear healthy and still have worms growing inside. A blood test at a vet office is needed to diagnose.
Symptoms vary and depend on how long a dog has been infected and how severe the worm burden is (the number of worms).
If a dog does have heartworms, a series of 3 injections is given at a vet office costing approximately $2,000+.
Heartworm is preventable for about $10/monthly with a chewable, a topical or an injection.
Heartgard is available on Chewy. Interceptor Plus is available with a prescription from your vet or directly from your vet. There are many other products (Tri-Heart Plus, Simparica Trio, Trifexis, Revolution, Advantage Multi, Iverhart). Please discuss with your vet which option is best for your dog.
All dogs should be on year round heartworm prevention. Agreeing to year round heartworm prevention is mandatory for Mosh Pit Rescue adoptions. We use Interceptor Plus at MPR as it prevents heartworm an several other common worms such as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms.