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Early detection of heartworm is key to ensuring your pet's health.
Heartworms are a menace. These thin, white creatures infest pets, especially dogs, and can grow up to a foot long. Hundreds of such worms can live inside a pet at one time. Heartworms live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels of pets. They can cause fatal illness and death. Early detection is key which is why dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm every 12 months.
Heartworms are spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. When an infected mosquito bites a dog or a cat, it transfers the worms to them. The worms mature, mate and multiply inside the host.
Veterinarians use blood tests to detect the presence of heartworms in pets. Blood tests can detect heartworm proteins known as antigens. The presence of antigen is first noticed at least 5 months after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
In rare cases, humans can get heartworms when bitten by an infected mosquito. Humans are not ideal hosts, so the worms cannot mature and die before causing any damage.
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