Heartworms in Dogs: Facts and Myths

1436019951k0rrcHeartworms in dogs can easily be prevented, but difficult and expensive to cure. This article separates facts from myths regarding heartworms in dogs.

How Do Dogs Get Heartworms?

There is only one way a dog can be get heartworms and that is through the bite of an infected mosquito. And since there is no way to tell if a mosquito is important, this is why it is prevention is extremely important.

All 50 states have reported having heartworm disease cases. The bite of just one infected mosquito will give your dog heartworm disease.

Not only has heartworm disease spread throughout the U.S., but it has also been found areas where irrigation and building are allowing the mosquitoes to survive such as Oregon, California, Arizona and desert areas.

In only 7 months the larvae matures into adult heartworms in dogs that have been infected with the disease. Once they mature, they will lodge into the heart, lungs and surrounding blood vessels and begin to reproduce. Adult worms can live up to 7 years and grow up to 12 inches in length. As many as 250 worms can live in a dog’s system.

Can Heartworms be Transmitted from Dogs to Humans?

No, heartworms can only be passed on by mosquitoes. Heartworms require a specific parasite that can only affect dogs, cats, ferrets and other mammals. Although this is the case, in very rare cases it has infected people, but it doesn’t complete its life cycle.

Can Heartworms be Transmitted to My Other Dogs?

No, heartworms cannot be transmitted from one dog to another. Again, it can only be transmitted from an infected mosquito. And even if the infected mosquito bites one of your dog and then the second one in the same night, it cannot be transmitted to the second one because once a mosquito bites one animal, the heartworm has to undergo an incubation period before it can infect other animals.


These are just a few facts and myths about heartworms in dogs. Always be safe and get your dog tested for heartworms today.

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